We Are Scientists’ “Brain Thrust Mastery” is here!
And I’m so happy!
I mean really, I’m so elated, I can’t contain my joy.
As an avid music lover, I can often tell when an album falls into an artist’s career. This is obviously their second major label release. When Iisten to “Safety, fun and learning,” their self-released disc of 2002, I can tell that they didn’t have much money or years on them. They were 24 when “Safety” was released. Now they’re 30, and this record is much more mature.
I mean, much more mature.
And part of me misses the science nerds that they were. They were the most sarcastic dorks of indie rock ever. Not that they still aren’t (view this vid), but their music doesn’t portray it at much. Back on “Safety,” they had a song called “The Method,” as in the Scientific Method. Seriously. Well, they used it as a metaphor for love, but still.
Yeah, they still have a few nerdy titles, like “Dinosaur” and “Lethal Enforcer,” which implies a science nerd who plays way too much Halo 3. So WAS still holds onto some of the gimmick that separated them from the rest of the indie rock acts that wear their hair greasy and in front of one eye. Chris did shave off his pornstar mustache though. I’ll miss that ‘stache.
But I’ll review the album like it’s the first album of theirs I’ve heard. With no baggage, strictly without bias.
Keith Murray, the grey-tinged haired lead singer, sounds so much older than before. He actually sounds thirty. And that’s good thing. His and Chris’s songwriting abilities has progressed a lot in the last 3 years. “With Love and Squalor” was still a little gimmicky and goofy (come on, “my body is your body, if you wanna use my body, go for it”). No, damnit, I’m not supposed to be dwelling on the past.
Okay, I’ll try again.
My favorite tune is “Impatience,” with the catchy hook and the fact that it’s super easy to sing to, makes it delightfully sure to be the second single. Oh, but then again, “After Hours,” the first single, was my favorite song. I had to think about that for a second. It does have a better hook. The guitar at the beginning is signature Keith. “After Hours” has an interesting premise that I haven’t heard in a long time in a song. It’s about getting really drunk at night and having the time of your life with a person that you really, really like. And yet, with the light, happy riff, it doesn’t even sound like a dirty situation. The way that Keith sounds like he’s almost begging the girl to “say, that you’ll stay” makes me want to hold his greasy gray hair out of his face as he vomits up tequila.
Okay, maybe not.
But he’s cute, right?
The one thing that I can be sure of–this album is so freaking cohesive, it’s crazy. Each song flows really well into the next one, like a well-planned fashion show. And Keith and Chris decided which order the songs would go in by picking titles out of a hat. Now that’s each extreme luck, or extreme talent to get all the songs to fit together in all ways. It goes from hard to weepy to upbeat to soft and slow, it feels so smooth and effortless.
I haven’t found all the songs as memorable as those of “With Love and Squalor” quite yet, but I’m sure after 3 more times listening to the album completely, I’ll get the lyrics down.
I will have to speak for the fact that this is their second record, which falls into the category of overmixing. Because they have much more money now, doesn’t mean that they should add more effects to the song. Don’t overwork the songs. They are good enough to sustain themselves. “With Love and Squalor” balanced that very well, being right in the middle of hi-fi and lo-fi. So next time guys, try to go back to your roots and stick with the raw Telecaster. But I won’t blame the guys, many bands fall into that trap. The Killers, Dashboard Confessional and Jet all overworked their second major label record. But came back with a great third record, except in the case of Jet, who hasn’t released their third record yet. But difference between those bands and WAS is that WAS hasn’t gotten huge publicity in the US at all yet, so the American audience don’t have such high expectations as those for The Killers’ second album.
But seriously guys, awesome job.
But what was with the tenor sax on “That’s What Counts?” That kinda confused me.
I wish I had a better way to finish this one, but I really don’t. Oh, but you should all go listen to WAS’s 2006 release, “Crap Attack (don’t be fooled by the name, it definitely isnt’ crap), Remixes, rarities and b-sides.” It has everything from a Sigur Ros cover to updated version of “Be My Baby,” by the Ronettes. Seriously, go check it out.
Dude, they’re so hardcore.