We Are Scientists laid out their sonic territory early and, bless ’em, they’ve stuck to it
Andrew P Street
Barbara 4/5 We Are Scientists laid out their sonic territory early and, bless ’em, they’ve stuck to it. While other bands abandoned herky-jerky riffs and disco rhythms after 2004/05’s too-brief summer of punk-funk, the NYC duo have stayed the course. Of course, it helps that guitarist/singer Chris Cain and bassist/singer Keith Murray write damned catchy songs – ‘Nobody Move Nobody Get Hurt’, ‘Chick Lit’, ‘After Hours’, ‘It’s a Hit’ – and that they are quite simply astonishing live.
Barbara doesn’t fix what ain’t broke: the drum stool for this album is filled by former Razorlight skin-thumper Andy Burrows and he maintains the propulsive, danceable approach of the departed Michael Tapper. The single word that applies most to Barbara is ‘energy’: even the slower songs crackle with it, like the brooding ‘Pittsburgh’ and ‘Foreign Kicks’ (the closest thing to a ballad here), and at a lean 10 songs the album doesn’t outstay its welcome. If only they were playing Dubai; the propulsive ‘You Should Learn’ should destroy concert halls live, and it’s not hard to imagine audiences bellowing the ‘If you’re the nice guy/Act like the nice guy’ hook of ‘Nice Guys’ back at the band. In short, Barbara is just a great, great pop record. Available now online.