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Math and Physics Club

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Album Review

Listening to Math and Physics Club's self-titled debut album is an unrelentingly pleasant experience. Drawing on influences like C86-style indie pop, current Scot-pop bands like Camera Obscura, and Sarah label bands (Brighter, Another Sunny Day, etc.), the group lightly and politely strums and jangles through ten witty and gentle songs of love lost and found. Warmth is the key word to describe the record, whether it's singer Charles Bert's dulcet tones, the subtle layers of strings (strummed acoustic and melodic electric guitars, melancholy violin) found on each track, the liberal application of reverb on the drums, or the tender emotions detailed in the lyrics. An autumnal mood of introspection pervades the album, but there's plenty of sonic variety to be found with a nice mix of ballads, mid-tempo tunes, and a few that would get even the shyest indie kid out on the dancefloor ("April Showers," "Cold as Minnesota," "Such a Simple Plan"). Sure, it's as derivative as can be — sounding at various times like Belle & Sebastian (the songs Stevie sings), the Lucksmiths, or even a baby Smiths — but there is enough emotion, melodic songcraft, and style to carry you past the obvious similarities and let you enjoy the record for what it is: a solidly crafted, sweet-as-sugar pop record.


Formed: Seattle, WA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Math and Physics Club are an indie pop group that formed in Seattle in 2004, when guitarist James Werle and vocalist Charles Bert, who had been collaborating on various recordings up until that point, started working with drummer Kevin Emerson, violinist Saundrah Humphrey, and bassist Ethan Jones. Sounding something like a cross between the Smiths, the Field Mice, and Belle and Sebastian, MAPC were snapped up by Matinée by the end of the year. Their debut EP on that label, Weekends Away, came out...
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Math and Physics Club, Math and Physics Club
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