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Customer reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
With Love And Squalor
Format: Audio CD|Change
Price:£4.56+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime

on 1 July 2007
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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on 10 October 2005
I've been listening to this for the last week after getting hold of a Promo copy of the album.
It's a great debut (although there have been lots of earlier independant releases) from the trio, and evidence that they are already up there with the best in creating infectious three minute symphonies. Kicking off with the power pop/punk first single, "Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt" the album gets off to a ferocious start and is an indication of the quality that is to purvey throughout the record.
Dynamically the band is improving all the time, and the songs are continually interesting; "Can't Lose" showcases this. Starting with a stripped down bass/drum/vocal, then sweeping into a guitar-laden chorus, suddenly the middle 8 drops out, falling into an unexpected vocal harmony, before the trio finally storm back into the chorus refrain.
Anyone who's seen the band live will testify that the guys are consummate musicians (and amusing!). The musianship on the album is most prevalent on the trio of songs kicking off with new single, "The Great Escape". Building up from the catchy guitar intro into the drum-rolling crescendo chorus, it's a sublime slice of everything a great single should be. "Textbook" shows the band in more contemplative mood; complete with haunting guitar lick, anguished backing vocals, and matter of fact delivery of chorus, it's expertly carried off. "Lousy Reputation" completes the trilogy, and is for me the standout track of the album. Leading with Chiming guitar, fastidious bassline, and defiant intelligent vocal the song grows gradually before flourishing into an anthemic choral feast. Better is to come as the persistance following the second chorus temporarily halts, gradually the vocals intensify, the guitars slide back into mix, and the sublime drum rolls build, before the pyrotechnical final chorus refrain. A sure fire future single?
By far a one trick pony, the album also showcases other feats the band is capable of. Intelligent, interesting Indie Pop, such as "Worth The Wait", the near Punk of "Callback"...The band fuse genres as expertly and as easily as an untrained electrician fuses fuses.
A Great debut.
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on 5 January 2011
Even though this is not their first album, they are reffering to it as if it was. And everyone agrees that it is an album with potentials to make a small band from USA appear to the greatest festivals in the other side of the atlantic!!The whinning lyrics (as Keith Murray mentioned them) combined with strong indie, post punk riffs make eveyone sing along with them and dance until they fall down. The tracks are in the same time dark, pessimistic and chearful. All of them could be radio hits but I would not label them pop. Their further carrier proves that they are far away from labels, they want to experiment and make music that they also like.

Nobody move, nobody gets hurt was voted in the 100 best indie tracks by a UK radio (I can' remember which one) and two very interesting tracks that I think did not became singles are Can't lose and Lousy reputation.
I've said it in another review too but I insist!!If you have the chance to see them live, just go for it!!
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on 16 May 2015
Incredible band. One of the few albums I can listen to on repeat without having to skip any tracks
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on 22 June 2014
Fantastic album - even 10 years later this albums sounds great. Track after track of guitar driven, foot tapping indie rock. If you want to check out We are Scientists this is the album to get.
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on 19 October 2014
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on 6 April 2013
I bought this as a birthday gift for my sister-in-law, and she loves it, and was just what she wanted.
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on 11 August 2011
This CD introduced me to the world of We Are Scientists with stunningly catchy hits like Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt and The Scene is Dead. They blew my mind with their darkened Indie genre: A refreshing take on popular Indie Rock today... This CD, however catchy, doesnt live up to the even catchier tunes and comic ideas of their later Barbara release but does entail a product of key importance in the perspective view of the artistic developments of We Are Scientists and for this I think it deserves your attention as a listener to their down right awesome music!
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on 11 February 2013
It is a good album, but with a few songs I don't really like but overall not a bad album.
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on 10 January 2006
When I first heard We Are Scientists on radio 1 I was struck by how cathcy and immediately likeable their music is. When I finally got their album a few weeks ago I found it the same. Although it needs a few listens to really tap into the fine quality of the music it is a very good, solid debut.
When ypu first hear the funky guitar riff of 'Nobody Move' you have an idea of what the album is going to be like: fast, funky, and extremly catchy. My favourite songs are 'Lousy Reputation', 'In Action' and 'Nobody Move Nobody Get Hurt', simply because this the guys at their best.
My only (if a bit picky) complaint is that it's a bit on the short side at only 37 minutes long. Despite this, if you love Franz Ferdinand, Bloc Party and/or Maximo Park then this is a highly recommended album which I feel was slightly overlooked in the excitement of all the other bands at the moment (Arctic Monkeys for instance).
I sincerly recommend this excellent piece of indie/pop/punk!
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