Customer Review

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Revenge of the Nerds, 1 July 2007
This review is from: With Love And Squalor (Audio CD)
We Are Scientists are a New York-based three-piece that released their debut album "With Love and Squalor" in 2005. As their name suggests, they look and talk like nerds. However, We Are Scientists do know how to pen songs that should prove strong commercial hits, as they cash in on the current vogue for post-punk songs that get you up on your feet and rocking.

The album clocks in at a pretty fast 12 tracks in 37 minutes and does not pause for breath at the start until the fourth track "Can't Lose". The record is heavily guitar-laden, with nearly all of the tracks containing hooks that are well worth hearing. Murray is on lead guitar and vocals and does both quite well, while Cain (complete with the dodgey 1980s 'tache and glasses) on bass is capable of producing a strong and distinct sound, without dominating. Although American, they do occasionally sound like one of their peer bands from the UK though, e.g. The Editors or Kaiser Chiefs.

The big themes on the album are the pressing issues of the day - birds and booze. Well, lets face it, they were for most blokes when they were students and this is clearly where this band wants to pitch its tent right now.

"With Love and Squalor" opens with "Nobody Moves, Nobody Gets Hurt", a jeu-de-mot of a title which makes the track sound like something the Fun Loving Criminals would offer up, but is really about pleading with a girlfriend to stay. Its a catchy guitar-driven song, which has the feel though of being a paint-by-numbers approach to how to achieve a commercial hit at present. Take the chorus as an example of instantly memorable, but preferably forgettable lyrics:

Because my body is your body

I won't tell anybody

If you wanna use my body

Go for it, yeah

Similarly, "The Great Escape", later in the album, has a superb heavy bass sound that really gets you moving to it, whilst Murray succeeds in being able to sing quite well over the throbbing sound. However, the lyrics are once more disappointing with a chorus of:

I got a great idea

I'm gonna wait right here

I got a great idea

I'm gonna wait right here

While everything is adding up, up, up

Everything is adding up, up, up

The song I like the most though is "Textbook". It could easily be mistaken for a number off The Editors' "The Back Room". However, as a song, it shows We Are Scientists in a different light with respect to how they sound and the type of song they are capable of, with lyrics such as "smitten but not stupid" and "having every question answered isn't going to help at all" achieving a resonance for me that the other songs on the album do not. Similarly, its not quite as good, but much the same can be said of the subsequent track "Lousy Reputation", a song about a guy persuading himself not to be led by other people's low opinions of a girl that he has just met.

My overall feeling is that We Are Scientists will prove to be a popular part of the current scene of post-punk dance bands without proving to be innovators within it. This does not make them a bad band. On the contrary, there is much there to rock along to and, having seen them live twice, I can vouch for the energy they give their set.
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