We Are Scientists’ new album “With Love and Squalor” delivers infectious hooks through the entirety of this strong pop album – just don’t dig too far below the surface.Every track is single-worthy and very radio friendly, with generic lyrics filtered through faux-Cure-style vocals. In fact, dance beats and a singer trying to be Robert Smith make WAS sound like The Killers’ demo tapes before they discovered the synthesizer.
At other points in the album, sometimes in the same song, a pop-punk, driving rhythm will emerge and the vocals shift into something reminiscent of Fall Out Boy. Although the sounds may seem to be very disparate, the band shifts between these two personalities so smoothly that listeners may not notice until they give the album a second spin.
It is this dynamic that showcases the real potential of WAS.
The band has a great drummer who really shines in this simple rock trio. Without the often overpowering electronic elements seen in more polished bands like The Killers and Franz Ferdinand, the dance beats will appeal to a wider audience of people who don’t dance (a so-called strength with many of the bands in this genre).
If nothing else, “With Love and Squalor” shows that this trio can write catchy songs consistently. Once the CD starts playing, there is no need to skip songs, and chances are you will want to listen again.
If the band explores some of the fledgling elements in its music with its next album and keeps up the same level of songwriting, WAS could be a formidable force on the music scene. Let’s just hope it doesn’t come to a Modest Mouse-style we-almost-got-dropped-from-our-label moment.
– Brian Chatman