Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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The Scruffs

  • "Wanna' Meet the Scruffs?" [Power Play, 1977] A-
  • Midtown [Northern Heights, 1998] ***

Consumer Guide Reviews:

"Wanna' Meet the Scruffs?" [Power Play, 1977]
Only a sucker for rock and roll could love this record, and I am that sucker. A middle-period Beatles extrapolation in the manner of Big Star (another out-of-step Memphis power-pop group on a small, out-of-step Memphis label), it bursts with off harmonies, left hooks, and jolts of random energy. The trouble is, these serve a shamelessly and perhaps permanently post-adolescent vision of life's pain, most of which would appear to involve gurls. To which objection the rockin' formalist in me responds, "I wanna hear `Revenge' again." A-

Midtown [Northern Heights, 1998]
it's Memphis, it's the '80s, and darn it, Big Star lives ("Machiavellian Eyes," "Judy [She Put the Devil in Me]") ***