If a needle drops in the forest, and no one is around it hear it, does the record spin at all?
In a not-so-round-about way, that’s the theme that Born Ruffians front man Luke Lalonde is exploring on his solo debut album, Rhythymnals. At least that’s what it started off being about, but along the way, narratives began to emerge, tempting Lalaonde to explore their threads and interpret the stories in sound. What’s most striking about Rhythymnals isn’t the lyrics, though, but the buoyant, burbling soundtrack that accompanies it. Opener “Grand (Rhythymnals)” percolates in your brain it’s foamy, fuzzy ending capping off the delicious sonic treat. In just the the first few minutes of listening, it’s clear these aren’t Born Ruffians rejected songs, but another facet to Lalonde’s songwriting and recording process.
That “other” facet though, is actually a cornucopia of sounds and styles that proves to be the album’s only real weakness: there’s just so much that’s going on it’s hard to build cohesiveness track to track. Thankfully, Lalonde’s voice is the linchpin that ultimately binds the whole thing together. He’s a talented singer, as “Undone” attests, being able to hold his own alongside the best R&B crooners. On moments like this, when he steps away from the indie-rocker hoot-and-hollerer role, Lalonde’s range is evident.
According to a press release, Lalonde didn’t start out intending to write and record an album on his own, but these songs took root in his head, implored him to take them from start to finish without the worry that they needed to be share with any one else. That’s evident in a song like “Shove Off”, that’s beautifully unselfconscious in its simplicity and fun. It’s also part of the appeal of Rhythymnals; it is an album that dances naked in the forest, and doesn’t care whether anyone is watching or not.
Rhythymnals is released today, October 30, 2012, on Paper Bag Records.
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