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We Are Scientists - Brain Thrust Mastery Review

Are you unfamiliar with indie rock band We Are Scientists? Well then allow me introduce them to you. The group consists of two fun loving New Yorkers, hailing from California, that are immensely popular in the UK. The band’s debut album With Love and Squalor sold over 500,000 copies, largely due to their massive popularity overseas. Last year the band’s drummer quit, leaving bassist Chris Cain and frontman Keith Murray to fend for themselves. Recently, the Scientists released their second full length disc, Brain Thrust Mastery. Now that I have you up to speed, let’s talk a little bit more about the new LP.

The big fear for those who fell in love with, With Love and Squalor, is that the departure of drummer Michael Trapper would hinder the band’s momentum, drive, rhythm or whatever other force of nature allowed these three guys to create such a beautiful work of art. The first thing that becomes obvious while listening to Brain Thrust Mastery is that this is no sequel to their debut album. Mastery is a much looser album than the band’s tight-knit freshman disc, it toys with and at times perfects sounds that were only hinted at in the past. Yet at other times the songs are much too loose, dragging on into oblivion. Very few of the tracks here possess the same candy coated pop hooks that made songs like "It’s a Hit" off of Squalor so endearing.

The first single from the album, titled "After Hours," is a typical Scientists love song mixed with musings about alcohol consumption, the song actually compares a relationship to the serving hours of a bar. Once Murray cries out "Say that you’ll stay," you’ve just heard the best hook on the album. "Lethal Enforcer" is one of the brightest spots on the album. It’s absolutely perfect ‘80s new wave pop, deeply nostalgic only because the band does nothing to try to update the sound, instead leaving it to bask in all its ‘80s glory. "Altered Beast" is a hard hitting gem placed between a lackluster ballad, "Spoken For," and the sped up "Chick Lit."

The disc drags into sheer monotony at times though, which is something the band had no trouble with in the past. "Let’s See It," sadly replaces innovative songwriting with a chorus full of Oh Oh Ohs. While the tepid "Impatience" is a build up that feels like it never really reaches the goal it was grasping for. The final track on Mastery, "That’s What Counts," helps reconcile some of the pitfalls that occurred along the way. This time the undeniable new wave flavor is accompanied by chimes and predominant saxophone playing. Don’t worry though, the sax compliments the song nicely and doesn’t feel out of place in the least bit.

Whilst the band experiments with new sounds minus a founding member, Brain Thrust Mastery turns out to be a mixed bag of sorts. I for one wanted to see more of the direction the band was heading in back in 2005. But when it comes right down to it, the song writing here is still top notch; making Mastery an album that should not be dismissed. Though it may take a few listens, Mastery has the ability to creep into your subconscious. The hooks here aren’t as obvious or addictive as their debut, but just try and get the song "Lethal Enforcer" out of your head after a few listens.

"Brain Thrust Mastery" is on sale March 17, 2008 from Virgin.

May
20
2008
Tyler Barlass • Editor

Tyler is passionate about Music, Sports, Beer, Comic Books, Food, Cocktails and other seemingly unrelated things.

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