Monday, January 11, 2010

Band of the Day: The Scruffs

The Scruffs have been around, in some form or another, since 1975. Led by (and sometimes solely comprised of) Stephen Burns, the power-pop pioneers have had quite a journey over the last 35 years and haven't exactly been prolific, but they're trying to make up for it with their upcoming release, Conquest, their fifth studio album. Admittedly, I didn't know The Scruffs' history until after I first heard their new record, when I was tempted to label the band as Arcade Fire's fun-loving younger brothers. This of course seems somewhat absurd now, though I think the comparison still holds, especially with The Scruffs' dramatic pop style and Burns' quavering tenor voice. And perhaps describing them as youthful should be taken as a compliment as the band sounds remarkably fresh and energetic throughout most of Conquest as they provide 44 minutes of hook-filled rock and an undeniably great time.

Highlights include the wistful ballad "The Radio Song," the jangly "Demon Mine," and the smooth rocker "All the Pharaohs ," though most every tune is a solid pop anthem showcasing the considerable talent and quirky personality that makes these guys so easy to enjoy. Whether you've been a fan for years or are just now being introduced, take time to check out Conquest.

Download "Treasure Girls"