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Kill! Kill! by The Scruffs

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"Scotland sings to me/All the way down to Tennessee," sings former Memphian Stephen Burns on his latest release under the name the Scruffs.

In truth, Burns hasn't called these parts home in a long time, but he's always kept his local music pedigree close to heart. And on Kill! Kill!, Burns shows why he might be the most vital remaining member of the now somewhat legendary Memphis power-pop scene of the 1970s.

Recorded last year at Ardent Studios by local producer/engineer and new Scruffs member Adam Hill, the album is a McCartney-esque pop tour de force that sounds fresh and surprisingly fierce coming from a band in its 36th year of existence. Songs like "Hide Me Hide Me" and "She's a Killer" ("killing" is a theme repeated throughout the record) show Burns' knack for a memorable hook and bitter turn of phrase.

Kill! Kill! also benefits greatly from its many guest contributions, from famous folks like Bobby Kildea (Belle & Sebastian) and Peter Buck (REM) to ace local players Al Gamble (the City Champs, John Paul Keith & The One Four Fives), John Whittemore (Neighborhood Texture Jam, Jack O & The Tennessee Tearjerkers), and Jake and Toby Vest (Tiger High).

Grade: A-

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