We Are Scientists
Indie Rock, Driving Guitars and The Pace Never Drops.
I’ve always believed that the name a band selects is important when they are first setting on the circuit, so when a young lad I worked with mentioned ‘this American band called We Are Scientists’ way back I was suitably intrigued.
It’s 16 years since that discussion about ‘With Love and Squalor,’ so it’s a credit to WAS that they are still touring as they drop their latest album ‘Huffy’ – close to three years since their last album.
I decided to go right back to their 2005 album before listening to ‘Huffy’ to see what changes there have been over that period.
They still have that high energy driving guitar style that has stood them in good stead, but I certainly feel there has been a subtle change in direction that is continued with ‘Huffy’.
It’s still what is described as high-octane but the lyrics are far softer than usual.
Hit listeners early is my view on albums and they certainly do this with ‘You’ve Lost Your Sh**’ A great opener for the more intimate venues selected for the UK tour although (for me) its disappointing that Newcastle is omitted from the list, this time.
The single ‘Contact High’ is a typical WAS song although they don’t usually concentrate on ‘romance’ in their tracks –
‘you’re a fuse I would like to light’ and ‘whatever you give us what I will be taking’.
However, for me, it’s track 3 ‘Handshake Agreement’ which is the highlight of the set – slightly calmer vocal opening but with an infectious beat that could be a real toe-tapper.
At their best on this one.
‘So much for your etiquette. This latest lesson really opened up my eyes’.
Over the years it’s the vocals that have consistently kept their albums on my repeat list and their distinctive sound is at its best on ‘I Cut My Own Hair’ – a strange take on a break up in a relationship.
‘You’re no fun, it’s not love so I cut my own hair.
Strangely, successive tracks have ‘Education’ in the title, the first recognising that you learn from your mistakes so there is always something to learn from moving apart.
Then, In Sentimental Education’ it’s a case of trying to understand
‘ what’s in your head so you’ve got to let me know’.
Relationships that are struggling to be developed.
The energy never drops as we move onto the final few tracks before a real surprise on ‘Bought Myself A Grave’ where a disastrous relationship has one party buying a cemetery plot
‘next to my dad taking comfort that he was spared my time with you’.
A pretty tough message for the partner who gets little sympathy when they are revealed to be in a ‘desperate place’.
The epitome of a failed/disastrous duo!
Although an album that does cover breakdowns etc may not sound appealing this would be wrong – it’s just a typical We Are Scientists album but with a more focused topic but delivered with your usual emphasis.
For fans I am sure this will go down well and I think it’s a great plan to play it at smaller more intimate venues where it will go down a storm.
For new listeners give it a try if you like Indie Rock, driving guitars and a band that have created a loyal following – still going strong after 16 years says a lot about their durability in a changing music market.
If it works why change it – just make a few adjustments and that’s what they have done.
Review Courtesy Bill Redhead
Released October 5th 2021
BUY DON’T SPOTIFY