June 14, 2008

We Are Scientists - Brain Thrust Mastery (2008)

If you dig The Killers or Hot Hot Heat, chances are you probably already love We Are Scientists. After the considerable success of 2006’s With Love and Squalor, they're back with their latest: Brain Thrust Mastery. It's not as instantly awesome as WLAS, but this will definitely grow on you after a few listens.

Touring with Arctic Monkeys seems to have been influential since their sound is similar to AM here, except on crack…after being electrocuted at their synthesizers. WAS themselves describe their intentions as "rock music of the thoughtful, sometimes epic, often loud, vaguely danceable, and implicitly humanist variety." Pretty spot-on for their unique brand of musical schizophrenia.
The Words: BTM is an 11-track journey detailing a soured relationship with [no?] hope of resuscitation. Pepper in some attempts at understanding, a few classic "I’m a dick, it’s all my fault"s, an ill-advised indiscretion, ever-growing confusion, coming to terms with the inevitable, partying [of course], and the perennial dilemma unfolds for your listening pleasure.
On “Impatience,” we get our contemplation on (For every promise kept / There's a thousand I don't even know I'm making). On the ska-infused “That’s What Counts,” I find the soundtrack of my life in a beautiful refrain: Enough is not enough / But I keep saying that I'll stop / Over and over / I’m drowning in each drop, all leading to the final If I’m not waking up with you, why am I waking up at all? Hmm, good question. I only ask myself the same thing... every... fucking... day. But the non heavy-hearted “After Hours” has my favorite lyric: We're finally drunk enough that / We're finally soaking up / The hours that everyone else throws away. Awesome for the car ride home after that great first date when the possibilities are infinite, everything is perfect, and no one hates anyone yet.
The Sounds: "Sonic overload" is barely sufficient. BTM expertly focuses on glitzy retro-rock riffage and electro-rock danceability to churn out an entire record of tracks suitable for The Killers, or at least the synth-conscious listener. It also helps that singer Keith Murray blesses us with a truly resonant voice. Couple this with capable back-up vocals of Chris Cain and the resultant force is a killer example of what harmony can and should be in the world of indie rock and beyond.
Stand-out tracks:
"Let's See It" - electro-poppiness laced with this record's best example of harmonious vocal interplay.
"After Hours" - quintessential last-call song after a great night out.
"Lethal Enforcer" - the sounds of Pet Shop Boys, Echo & The Bunnymen and The English Beat are all playing pinball with each other in my head... and I'm lovin' it.
"That's What Counts" - just plain saxy.

The Final Verdict:
Love BTM for what it is: a hodge-podge of songs that you've gotta get up to get down to. Throw this on for background tunage at your next party and expect a little head-bobbing, a little toe-tapping, and a heckuva lot of dancing.


Thecranewife said...

I totally bought "With Love and Squalor" because the band was holding kittens on the cover, and you know what? it's a pretty rad album.

Excited to hear their new one!

Mona said...

Haha, seriously. I don't know what I liked more off WLAS... "It's A Hit" or their videos. Let me know what you think of this one, it's super danceable.

Anonymous said...

Just surfed on... "Lethal Enforcer" almost has an 80s feel to it, I like it better than that live acoustic version floating around youtube...

Mona said...

Hey Bill! I feel you on the 80s influence. Almost a nod to Duran Duran, only better!