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Album Review

Barbara introduces We Are Scientists’ new label and new drummer — and a mix of the approaches the band took on their two previous albums. Joined by former Razorlight skins man Andy Burrows, Keith Murray and Chris Cain return to With Love and Squalor’s guitar-dominated style, but keep Brain Thrust Mastery’s slick production style. The band sounds more focused than they have in a while, possibly because this is the first time they've had a consistent drummer since the With Love and Squalor days. Brain Thrust Mastery's strummy single “After Hours” feels like the template for many of Barbara’s tracks, including “Rules Don’t Stop,” “Nice Guys,” and “Break it Up,” all of which are bright and breezy with appealing melodies. We Are Scientists recapture some of the bite of their early work with “Jack and Ginger”’s stylish dance-punk, which shows that the Franz Ferdinand and Killers comparisons still hold true. Elsewhere, the band embellishes a little on this formula with “Ambition”’s soul-pop and “Pittsburgh,” a ballad with lush soft-rock harmonies. The album gets better as it unfolds, with the bouncy, chiming “Foreign Kicks” — whose title must be homage to how much the song sounds like the French Kicks — and the dynamic “You Should Learn” and “Central AC” providing late-in-the-game highlights.

Customer Reviews

Great

Always coming out with something I want to listen to

Biography

Formed: 2000 in Claremont, CA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Although formed on the West Coast by three California-based college students, We Are Scientists officially took flight after frontman Keith Murray, bass player Chris Cain, and drummer Michael Tapper relocated to Brooklyn and began building a small, devoted following. After releasing three EPs and one independent album, the group signed with Virgin Records and released their major-label debut, With Love and Squalor, in early 2006. Although modestly popular in America, the album became a gold-selling...
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Barbara, We Are Scientists
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