When I first saw the cover of The Scruffs’ new album, Conquest, I thought they were another thrash band thanks to the diminished ruins on the cover and golden skulls on the back. Turns out The Scruffs are a long-time power pop band that has been churning out catchy tunes since 1975.
Their new album, Conquest, does have their signature English pop style and appealing vocal harmonies that the Scruffs are known for, but there are a number of songs that stray away from power pop and sound more like Pink Floyd like on the song “Land Of Trance.” There are really nice string arrangements on the song “Bad Memories,” but the song is way too long and ends up being corny. “Ipod Girl” is the catchiest song on the album due to the jingly guitar riffs and lead singer Stephen Burns’ echoed vocals. The lyrics on “Conquer Me” are hilarious with “sexy” phrases like “take me all the way” and “make me a better man.” The rest of the songs have your average hopeless romantic lyrics, but there are more ohs and ahs than actual lyrics.
The Scruffs still have that Raspberries-meets-Big Star sound, but it’s nice to see them they’re trying something new on this album. Though power pop is supposed to be cheesy, The Scruffs are on the border of being too tacky on this album. The multi-layered vocals are overbearing at some points and it ends up sounding like the music they play at naptime at daycares.