MONDAY, MAY 12, 2008 |
I vaguely, in 2005, remember picking up With Love and Squalor from my friend Kevin in High School, (back then he was my one-stop music source) at the same time as Nightmare of You, and thinking "So this is what Brooklyn sounds like these days." They both struck me as bands to watch in the future.
And now, well after With Love and Squalor kept us entertained, finally "Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt" won't be the only song I remember from these guys.
After quite a hiatus, We Are Scientists return with their sophmore effort, Brain Thurst Mastery. With the slow start of the first track, "Ghouls," we are waiting for the bass drum to start pumping as the drone layered harmonies build in an oh-so Scientists sound. Then as the CD goes on, the realization dawns: The sound has evolved all over the place. On tracks like "Lethal Enforcer," the dance rock of With Love and Squalor has been developed into something closer to The Police, if they all had lofts in Williamsburg and came out with their first record in 2007. The sound is different, and in some places, it just doesn't work.
Perhaps the differences and more downtempo beats are due to the replacement of former drummer Michael Tapper, who left the band in the fall, and was replaced with Adam Aaronson. The album almost moves too slowly, not quite reaching an upbeat single in it's emminent maturity. "Let's See It" has a chorus that sounds like it was written by Claudio Sanchez. Don't these guys have a name inherent of identity? We're wondering, if you guys know who you are, why aren't we hearing it? "After Hours" is close, but "Lethal Enforcer" sounds like it belongs in Vice City, not on a We Are Scientists record.
The album ultimetly redeems itself with songs that are clearly the work of two guys named Keith Murray and Chris Cain, such as "Tonight," and "Chick Lit," which actually sounds like the guys using their signature guitar fuzz, and yet moving in a new direction that suits the band. By the end of the record, the tracks start to sound like a unique identity again, and the maturity stops equating a bunch of strange directions and imitations. It's unusual to like the end of the CD more than the beginning, but this may be the case for many fans out there. The guys nail their CD in one line from "Chick Lit": "I asked you nicely once, but I won't do that again... All is forgiven." Certainly by "Dinosaurs," all is forgiven in my mind. In any event, this one is defintely worth picking up, for fans old and new. - Joe Puglisi