We Are Scientists - Brain Thrust Mastery
Review by Jack Foley
I WAS one of the few critics who found We Are Scientist’s debut album With Love & Squalor to be over-hyped. So perhaps that’s why my reaction to their second, Brain Thrust Mastery is probably more positive than most.
The New York punk art-rock/punk rock outfit may now be without drummer Michael Tapper but keith Murray and Chris Cain still deliver some pretty thrilling goods; and what’s more, they appear to have grown up.
The music is much more diverse, the themes more varied and there are some absolute belters among the 11 tracks to choose from.
Lead single After Hours, for instance, is an effervescent slice of off-kilter romanticism that boasts the kind of catchy post-punk guitar riff that early Strokes would be proud to call their own, while the chorus is terrific (“say that you’ll stay”).
And Let’s See It is a geniunely catchy slice of indie-rock that’s built around an addictive central guitar riff and another sing-along style chorus (albeit a little over heavy with the “oh, oh, oh’s”).
Impatience is a foot-stomper of rousing proportions and the type of track that could well appeal to Idlewild fans, while Tonight is another out-and-out rocker that’s sure to thrill in live form (and works well played loud).
Evidence of the album’s ability to mix things up is then found on album highlight Spoken For, a graceful anti-ballad that slows things down to brilliant effect and delivers a cheeky apology to a good-looking girl for leading her on. The guitar riffs are particularly charming, while the drum loops nicely restrained. There’s an ironic romanticism that’s not borne out by the lyrics – and it makes a refreshing change.
Chick Lit, conversely, is a revved-up disco-influenced club-banger that easily competes with bands like The Rapture and Klaxons for dancefloor-cred, while final track That’s What Counts offers another welcome change of pace that capably demonstrates the band’s growing maturity and their ability to mix punk-rock enthusiasm with something more akin to the likes of Coldplay.
Yes, there are a couple of lazy tracks which are rooted in formula (album opener Ghouls and Dinosaurs don’t fare too well) but in most respects, this is a cracking return from We Are Scientists that I’m going to fly in the face of popular wisdom by suggesting still gets the formula right.
Download picks: Let’s See It, After Hours, Impatience, Spoken For, Chick Lit, That’s What Counts