Review: Jack Foley
HOTLY-touted New York punk rockers, We Are Scientists, pretty
much encapsulate the new sound of American guitar music at the
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
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!