Scientists experiment with new release

Mike Morrone

Research: We are Scientists slaved away for over five years before releasing their debut album, “With Love and Squalor.” The Scientists seem well acquainted with irony, from the playful sticker embossed on the jacket (featuring “laudatory adjectives” and “overblown superlatives”) to bassist Chris Cain’s glorious moustache. Chris Cain reminds the reviewer of Dr. Clayton Forrestor from Mystery Science Theater 3000 without the green lab coat. We are Scientists come from Brooklyn and are playful – they hold kittens in front of their faces on their press materials and album cover.

Problem: Are We are Scientists needed at a time when modern indie rock is dominated by propulsive guitars and ebullient songs? Does the world need an American Hot Hot Heat anymore? Why don’t more people know about the Futureheads? Are the members of We are Scientists really scientists, or are they just sardonic hipsters?

Hypothesis: “With Love and Squalor” will prove its worthiness with incessant fast-paced songs featuring lyrics full of girls and partying.

Project Experimentation: Single “Nobody Move, Nobody Gets Hurt” features drummer Michael Tapper abusing the high hats and other cymbals as if he were the Damned’s Rat Scabies. Chris Cain strums his bass furiously. Frontman Keith Murray politely taps Hot Hot Heat’s Steve Bays on the shoulder, suggests stepping aside in order to be reminded how it’s done (since Hot Hot Heat’s latest “Elevator” was a dog). “This Scene is Dead” ups the irony quotient. Imagery such as last call, fun and blacking out makes you wonder if those kittens truly are in the best hands. “Inaction” wriggles and boogies around the room. “Callbacks” buries the vocals deep underneath the rhythm. “It’s a Hit” features wrangling guitar riffs seemingly culled from a Franz Ferdinand LP. Ringing guitar parts are featured in many of the songs, chief among them “The Great Escape.” “Textbook” copies Bloc Party’s cool complexion with chants of “Having every question answered/isn’t gonna help at all,” and again the guitar is faintly reminiscent of Interpol or the Walkmen – without the organ complements.

Project Conclusion: “With Love and Squalor” is the perfect soundtrack for young energetic college students who may or may not be taking recreation a bit too far. Remind them to feed their kittens.