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W/Love And Squalor Explicit Lyrics
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We Are Scientists comprises of Keith Murray, guitar and lead vocals; Chris Cain, bass guitar and backing vocals; Michael Tapper, drums and backing vocals. EMI. 2005.
With their daft facial hair and questionable fashion sense, tank-top sporting Brooklyn supernerds We Are Scientists resemble those eccentric mathematics lecturers one use to see on Open University in the early 1970s. Do not be deceived by this veil of foolishness, for With Love and Squalor is a splendidly dexterous debut, a lubricated salvo of trim pop-punk cramming 13 songs into an honorably waffle-free 36 minutes.Obvious touchstones include Franz Ferdinand (on fun setting) and the wit, jerk, and pop inclination of XTC circa Drums and Wires and Black Sea. Exploding into action with the adrenalin swoop of "Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt" and "This Scene Is Dead" and taking in such other fine moments as the reggaefied "Can't Lose" and the Terrorvision-meets-Buzzcocks "Callbacks," the album nods to the mope-rock of the Cure on the philosophical experience-is-the-best-teacher procrastination of "Textbook." With Love and Squalor places We Are Scientists in line for this year's Nobel Prize for punk-pop novelty. --Kevin Maidment
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At this point, my penchant for dancing is beginning to wear thin.
In 2005 the mainstream saw a surprising emergence of indie bands who, like a snake charmer with his flute, got the toes of American tapping with their modern dance-rock grooves. Ever since, the bass heavy sway, the semi-electronic trill, and the pick-a-minute hook with which The Killers, Franz Ferdinand, and Hot Hot Heat invaded our minds have become a major rock and roll standard. It's been done, done, and done again and mostly to great effect.
But as we've seen most recently with the "emo" trend, the "ska" trend, and the "pop-punk" trend: after a while if you don't give a genre a little creative CPR, it's going to lose its flavor, and fast. Perhaps I stand alone here, but I feel the wave of dance-rock has not received enough medical attention. While new artists like Men, Women, and Children still send my pulse soaring, We Are Scientists haven't found that kindling just yet.
It's hard to point to a flaw because, as with so many records, it's not what you hear, it's what you don't. The vocals are spot on, and instrumentally the foundation is rock hard. What With Love and Squalor fails to do though, is build upon this foundation. In almost every track I expected a skyscraper, and yet the elevator stopped a couple stories short. A major shortcoming in this whole dance-rock deal is the low malleability of the sound; rarely can a band effectively stretch it to envelop the girth of a full length record.
We Are Scientists have conjured 12 really good songs, championed by the more adventurous "Can't Lose" and rarely flinching from a straight forward but successful formula. It's a good time had by all, but despite what there is to enjoy, With Love and Squalor does not manage to achieve any of the depth or importance found in the subtly heartbreaking J.D. Salinger short from which the record draws its name.
"It doesn't have to be terribly prolific! Just so that it isn't childish and silly." Esmé reflected. "I prefer stories about squalor."
When I first heard this band, I couldn't place them. It seems nowadays, every indie band is compared to Franz Ferdinand. But that's not it. It's as if The Killers and Maximo Park had a love child at an Interpol concert. Very danceable, with melodic vocals and pretty intense instrumentals. A little bit different, and a little bit of everything you've heard. Definitely worth a listen.
I also must mention that W.A.S. has undeniably the best band web site around. It's absolutely hysterical. Check it out.
Sidenote: Wonder why this album got all the way to #3 on the college radio charts? Check out the lyrics. This CD is the aural representation of the stereotypical college weekend, best represented by the last lines of the second cut: "The night is young, I'm blacking out, but it's been fun."
5 of 5 stars for the new College Rock.