10 Songs, 24 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

The perky Math and Physics Club became favorites with the indie- pop crowd after releasing their year-end-list-topping debut back in 2006, with one reviewer calling them “unrelentingly pleasant.” While that could be a lethally cheeky description in some cases, with MAPC it is not; it’s merely accurate (and slightly flip). Their sophomore release, I Shouldn’t Look As Good As I Do Now, shows the band following their light and lilting, Brit-flavored pop muse, and one can’t help but think of MAPC as the Smiths’ younger sibling with each stroke of James Werle’s jangly guitar. But the band turns up a few surprises that are wholly their own, like the funny, banjo- and accordion-driven “Everybody Loves a Showtune” and the equally amusing pop-rocker “We’re So DIY!” Listening to MAPC is a source of relentless pleasure, it’s true, but not in a sugar-coma kind of way. Rather, it’s the attention to detail, the bulls-eye targeted lyrics, and the smart arrangements (the chorus on “Love or Loneliness,” and the rainy-day vibe of “The Internationale” are perfection) that make this Seattle band so sublime.

EDITORS’ NOTES

The perky Math and Physics Club became favorites with the indie- pop crowd after releasing their year-end-list-topping debut back in 2006, with one reviewer calling them “unrelentingly pleasant.” While that could be a lethally cheeky description in some cases, with MAPC it is not; it’s merely accurate (and slightly flip). Their sophomore release, I Shouldn’t Look As Good As I Do Now, shows the band following their light and lilting, Brit-flavored pop muse, and one can’t help but think of MAPC as the Smiths’ younger sibling with each stroke of James Werle’s jangly guitar. But the band turns up a few surprises that are wholly their own, like the funny, banjo- and accordion-driven “Everybody Loves a Showtune” and the equally amusing pop-rocker “We’re So DIY!” Listening to MAPC is a source of relentless pleasure, it’s true, but not in a sugar-coma kind of way. Rather, it’s the attention to detail, the bulls-eye targeted lyrics, and the smart arrangements (the chorus on “Love or Loneliness,” and the rainy-day vibe of “The Internationale” are perfection) that make this Seattle band so sublime.

TITLE TIME

About Math and Physics Club

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 in February 2005; the disc enjoyed quite a bit of critical buzz, and was in regular rotation on Seattle's KEXP that year. Proving that they were anything if not prolific, MAPC had another EP, Movie Ending Romance, out on Matinée by the time summer rolled around. Their self-titled debut full-length, produced by Kevin Suggs, came out a little over a year later, and they followed it up with a modest East Coast tour. Having taken a quick breather at the beginning of the year, MAPC returned with another Matinée EP, Baby I'm Yours, in the summer of 2007.

During a long break between releases, Humphrey and Emerson left the band (though Emerson stuck around to play drums on future albums). I Shouldn't Look as Good as I Do was released in early summer 2010. The group toured the U.K. in 2011, then headed to the Dub Narcotic Studio to work on its next record. Produced by the band's longtime bassist Jones and Bob Schwenkler, Our Hearts Beat Out Loud was released by Matinée in late 2013. That same year they released a single, "Long Drag," and in 2014 were on a split single with former Lucksmiths member Mark Monnone. After that the band took a bit of a break, with Bert forming Unlikely Friends with BOAT's D. Crane and Chris McFarlane, who had spent time as MAPC's drummer at one point. They released an album, Solid Gold Cowboys, in 2015. By this time Math and Physics Club were working on new songs, one of which ("Coastal California, 1985") ended up on 2016's In This Together, a collection of early songs from the EPs, non-LP songs, and unreleased tracks issued jointly by Matinée and Fika Recordings.

They soon hit the recording studio to work on another album, this time enlisting producer Chris Hanzsek (who was known for running C/Z Records during grunge's heyday) to help mold their sound into something a little more powerful, though still pretty and sweetly sad. After releasing the "All the Mains are Down" single in late 2017 and doing a quick tour of Australia with labelmates Last Leaves, the band's fourth album, Lived Here Before, was issued by the team of Matinée and Fika once again. ~ Margaret Reges

ORIGIN
Seattle, WA

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