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We Are Scientists - With Love and Squalor


Review: Jack Foley

HOTLY-touted New York punk rockers, We Are Scientists, pretty much encapsulate the new sound of American guitar music at the moment.

Their songs are fast, edgy and occasionally vitriolic and their sound is not unlike a dozen other acts coming from the Big Apple at the moment.

As such, With Love and Squalor emerges as something of a disappontment that struggles to escape from the overcrowded genre in which it comfortably exists.

Recent single, The Great Escape, offered some hope that Keith Murray and co might offer a pulse-quickening alternative but many of the tracks on the long-player draw simplistic comparisons with everyone from StellaStarr* and The Strokes to English rockers Muse and indie darlings, Bloc Party.

There is the odd moment when their music makes its mark, such as It's A Hit or Can't Lose, but mostly the album is happy to bubble away in an effervescent post-punk fury that abounds with catchy hooks and sing-along choruses without bringing anything new to the mix.

Of the tracks worth talking about, however, Textbook is a nice slow-builder that contains a nice background rolling guitar riff and a stop-start style that actually feels quite exciting.

Lyrically, it is full of the vitriol and wit that helped first get the band noticed, with choice lines including 'I know you know you own my body but don't think that you own my mouth' and 'what's the point of medication, it only makes me wish that I was dead'.

The Great Escape is also genuinely catchy in its effort to chronicle the all-too familiar tale of 9-5 drudgery.

While the aforementioned Can't Lose is an epic rocker in the Muse-tradition packed with crunching guitar riffs, foreboding drums and a faintly Green Day style.

With Love and Squalor is by no means a bad listen; merely, it's a little over familiar and not worthy of the hype surrounding the band at the moment.

It seems to this reviewer, at least, as though We Are Scientists could do with a little more experimentation of their own!

Track listing:
1. Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt
2. This Scene Is Dead
3. Inaction
4. Can't Lose
5. Callbacks
6. Cash Cow
7. It's A Hit
8. The Great Escape
9. Textbook
10. Lousy Reputation
11. Worth The Wait
12. What's The Word

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