Having racked up hype in the UK, hype which has somehow managed to seep across the pond these past few months, With Love and Squalor, the debut from Brooklyn trio We Are Scientists has finally touched upon America’s shores. With catchy yet cheesy hooks and lyrics that your 15 year-old sister will just love, their music and melodies cling onto the back of your psyche, making this album, quite possibly, the guiltiest pleasure of 2006.
The opener “Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt” ascends with singer/guitarist Keith Murray’s “whoa oh oh oh oh’s” adjoined by his ultra caffeinated guitar chords. “The Scene is Dead” and “Inaction” are two slabs of spiky pop that find bassist Chris Cain doing an exceptional job of keeping up with the rhythm of his jittery bandmates that the listener comes to the conclusion that he must have scone-sized calluses on his hands.
Now I do happen to be a fan of the Moving Units, but one thing that can be said is that We Are Scientists are kind of like them minus the “we’re just so fucking cool” disposition in their music. Tracks like “Can’t Lose” contain a wickedly bassy rocksteady groove but the songwriting has a sappy deliverance in the manner of Green Day’s “Boulevard of Broken Dreams.” And yet it can still stick to your brain like a fly to molasses. It’s one of those tracks to which you join along with your buddies as they diss it, but you secretly listen to it when you’re alone. If you have a need for speed in your music or just need a track on your iPod to play when you go jogging (because you made that resolution to get in shape for the new year, remember?) then “Callbacks” should be right up your alley. However if you are a hell raiser who is sensitive underneath it all then the New Romantic meets melodic skate punk of “Cash Cow” should be more suited to your palate.
So there you have it. This second wave of the new wave/post punk may be burning itself out as we anxiously await what is the next “it” trend in music but if it has to leave on any note than With Love and Squalor is the most suitable one to do so. You may be listening to it in a realm of secretive shame, but it is enjoyable nonetheless.
Franz Ferdinand – Franz Ferdinand
Hot Hot Heat – Make Up the Breakdown
Razorlight – Up All Night