Teenage Gurls

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Failed negotiations with several major labels kept the Scruffs' second album, Teenage Gurls, in the vaults until Northern Heights finally gave it a belated release in 1998, nearly two decades after it was recorded. While the band's debut, Wanna Meet the Scruffs?, was an out-of-the-box classic, Teenage Gurls suffers by comparison; while most of the songs are solid, there are a few examples of obvious filler, most notably the title track on which singer and songwriter Stephen Burns doesn't seem to have a lot to say except he likes teenage gurls (and my, isn't that unusual). And while having guitarists David Branyan and Steve O'Rourke write and sing songs was probably good for band unity, their material doesn't mesh well with what Burns brought to the table; O'Rourke's "At the Movies" in particular is a good tune, but it sounds like an outtake from the Bongos' first album and sticks out like a sore thumb in this context. But the band is in great form throughout, sounding tighter and fuller than on the debut, and there are more than a few excellent songs here, especially "Alice, Please Don't Go," "Danger," and "Go Faster." Teenage Gurls is a good late-'70s power pop album; unfortunately, it was recorded by a band that had already made one of the great ones.

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