Sound the alarm and get your tickets here because Born Ruffians are back. The indie darlings return to San Francisco fresh off the heels of their latest offering, Birthmarks, released less than a month ago.

As the band eyes the decade mark, it seems that they’ve sonically matured tenfold. Blame the lengthy span of writing and recording or the three year gap between the mixed bag of their sophomore LP Say It, but there’s an unexpected settled quality to the band.

Born Ruffians holed up in a farmhouse in rural Ontario for the better part of a year to bring the formative ideas of Birthmarks to their full realization. Many tracks spawned from frontman Luke Lalonde’s solo work, which came just before the farmhouse interlude. Some songs fit in with solo LP Rhythmnals, while others were hand-picked for Born Ruffians. Not all fell on the shoulders of the frontman, however. The process seen in Birthmarks harkens back to their critically acclaimed debut, Red, Yellow, & Blue.

“For a while, it was mainly me writing in solitude and then bringing in ideas and songs to the band. This time we were writing more as a band,” Lalonde tells the Appeal.

“We’d master songs and build songs. I feel like that was really important.”

“Steve Hamelin and Mitch Derosier are an invaluable part of that process,” Lalonde says, citing his fellow founding members. Touring member and guitarist/keyboard player Andy Lloyd, who joined the band during the release of 2010’s Say It, continues to play a pivotal role.

Birthmarks also saw Lalonde delve deeper into production. Working on Rhythmnals first inspired Lalonde to take a more hands-on approach, and Born Ruffians only furthers his passion.

“I feel like mixing and production are extensions of writing,” Lalond says, “It’s those fine details. Each element is important and can be a deciding factor.”

Transferred to a live setting, Born Ruffians’ energy is even more infectious. Single “Needle” runs from frail strums of a guitar and Lalonde’s lovesick pleas to expansive echoes of harmonies that is signature Born Ruffians. It gets crowds moving and singing all in one fell swoop.

“Our hardcore fans appreciate the new sounds,” Lalonde says.

Touring life has been kind to the foursome, who are set to wrap things up on the Pacific Northwest. They’ll be stopping at Slim’s this Wednesday and continuing on to Portland before they play Seattle’s Barboza.

Catch Born Ruffians this Wednesday, May 8 at Slim’s.

the author

Always in motion. April Siese writes about music, takes photos at shows, and even helps put them on behind the scenes as a stagehand. She's written everything from hard news to beauty features, as well as fiction and poetry. She most definitely likes pie.

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