Uncle, Duke & The Chief

Born Ruffians - Uncle, Duke & The Chief
Critic Score
Based on 8 reviews
2018 Ratings: #495 / 764
User Score
Based on 26 ratings
2018 Ratings: #623
February 16, 2018 / Release Date
LP / Format
Yep Roc / Label
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bornruffians.com / Website
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At nine tracks, there’s not a flop in the bunch, making Uncle, Duke, & The Chief an extremely likable return to form from an extremely likable band.


It's the pairing of melodies that comfort, and lyrics that threaten to take it away, that really make this album. Where 2015's RUFF spoke of being disheartened and disillusioned in the creative world, Uncle, Duke and the Chief is honest about life — its ups, its downs, its changes and rearrangements, procrastination and stress, and certainly its inevitable end.

NOW Magazine

With Uncle, Duke & The Chief, they confidently step into calmer, more spacious sonic terrain and lean on classic pop songwriting. The nine songs still take plenty of left-field Ruffian tangents, but they come in brief, controlled bursts that add personality and colour.


This tension also provides a perhaps necessary counterpoint to Born Ruffians' newfound earnestness; it adds color and dimension, keeping the songs from seeming po-faced and giving Uncle, Duke & the Chief just enough jolt to be unpredictable.

Northern Transmissions

Detached from the inevitable comparisons to the band’s debut, Uncle, Duke & The Chief is a solid indie rock record. It’s not going to change anyone’s life or restore faith in rock and roll as an ailing genre. But it doesn’t need to — all this album really needs to accomplish is to reinstate Born Ruffians as a band with the creativity and competence to say something fresh and exciting, and Uncle, Duke & The Chief accomplishes this handily.


‘Uncle, Duke and The Chief’ is a chirpy affair that’s very much in the vein we’ve come to expect, even when there’s a sadness permeating the lyrics.

Born Ruffians once distilled the joys and pains of young adulthood with sublime pep. A decade later, their fifth LP struggles to grow up.
"Uncle, Duke & The Chief" is the fifth full-length album by Canadian indie rock group Born Ruffians, and I think I remember listening to it. My memory is hazy: some songs stick out to me, like opening tracks "Forget Me" and "Miss You," both which contain some of the album's strongest melodies, as well as the punchy, Beach Boys-esque "Fade to Black." However, even after listening to this record several times, I can never recall melodies after the fact. ... read more
Even though I hate albums with nine tracks, this one is pretty good. With inventive melodies and cagey, haunting vocals and backing harmonies, Uncle Duke provides a quick punch in the Born Ruffians catalog, albeit nine tracks and not ten. Sigh.

Standout track: Tricky

Forget Me (7.7)
Miss You (7.5)
Side Tracked (7.1)
Fade to Black (6.6)
Love Too Soon (8.3)
Spread So Thin (7.5)
Tricky (6.5)
Ring That Bell (7.8)
Working Together (6.0)
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Track List

  1. Forget Me
  2. Miss You
  3. Side Tracked
  4. Fade to Black
  5. Love Too Soon
  6. Spread So Thin
  7. Tricky
  8. Ring That Bell
  9. Working Together
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Added on: November 22, 2017