CD Review: We Are Scientists / Barbara
Reviewed by: Sally Feller
We Are Scientists are Keith Murray and Chris Cain. WAS are what I would call “smart pop;” it’s fun, it’s catchy, it’s not Lady Gaga – sounds ay-okay to me. I had a listen to their upcoming album Barbara to check it out and give all the TWRY readers a peek inside the album to see whether it’s worth a second look.
The lead single from this latest album is “Rules Don’t Stop”—an upbeat little pop song that you can sing along to confidently (well, you will know the words, whether you can sing confidently is a whole different issue…) after a single listen. “Jack and Ginger” has a similar instantly catchy sound you might expect to hear featured on some MTV show with rich young kids on a beach somewhere.
“I Don’t Bite” is pretty forgettable. Its simple beat is too simple…so much so that you feel like you could probably make a comparable song on an online mixer and add someone else’s decent indie pop vocals (unless you, unlike me, have pipes).
“Pittsburgh” presents some promise smack in the middle of the album…there’s a low-lying bass line to set up some more dynamic resonance to contrast with the clear vocals and harmonies. This extra layer does a lot to amp up the sound of We Are Scientists and it succeeds in staying minimal enough to not be totally intrusive to the rest of the album.
“Break It Up” brings in the 80s pop we all know (and love?), which actually nicely works with Cain’s vocals. With a bit of a similar 80s pop mood, but combined with a laid-back California summer sound, is “Foreign Kicks”, a pretty solid indie pop party song. Barbara ends with “Central AC”, a guitar heavy song that nicely pulls together the vocals and harmonies.
While Barbara doesn’t thrill me, it’s got pretty solid vocals and crisp, clean beats. I think there’s a ton of opportunity for growth on this pretty solid base, but it just needs more oomph. That said, were We Are Scientists to come to my city for a live show, I would definitely hit it up because I get a feeling that these guys would put on a great show and offer up a wicked good night for you and your buddies. The CD booklet alone merits some value in its hipster-styled hilarity and includes such gems as pickup lines that are proven to work and results charts and how to improve your odds a romantic success.
Certainly worth a viewing are the music videos from these guys. “Nice Guys” has some laugh-out-loud moments with subtitle foreplay (you heard right). Just head over to their site to view them.
Want to form your very own opinion (gasp!)? You can buy the album on June 15th, so get to it. And write your comments here. Think I’m wrong? Tell me so. Think I’m right? Thank you. Tell me that, too.
1. Rules Don’t Stop
2. I Don’t Bite
3. Nice Guys
4. Jack & Ginger
7. Break It Up
8. Foreign Kicks
9. You Should Learn
10. Central AC