With their explosive debut record, With Love and Squalor, We Are Scientists took the world by storm in 2005. The debut was bristling with creativity and confidence that went right down into your feet. Even introverted people started singing along out loud while listening to it on their MP3 players on the subway.
Three years later, the Scientists are ready to prove to the world that they can do it again. Having gone through a lineup change, replacing drummer Michael Tapper with Adam Aaronson and adding keyboardist Max Hart, I was curious if and how that would affect the quality of the new record.
Brain Thrust Mastery starts off with “Ghouls”, a song that builds and builds with every second. Keith Murray‘s vocals follow spacy guitars and then a pumping bass and electronic drum beats join in. Murray sticks to his usual driving vocals. When the song reaches its climax, all instruments explode right in your ear.
This is NEW! This is FRESH! This keeps me LISTENING.
From this song, the record keeps up an unbelievable pace, passion, and energy. Every song makes you sing along instantaneously and has your foot shaking like you are having a seizure.
“Let’s See It” is no exception to that and only two songs into this record, it makes very clear that this is going to hold up with the success of the debut.
In the first single, “After Hours“, We are Scientists apply their proven, unique style, add even more energy and passion, and finish the creation off with a few sprinkles of new ideas to create a song that catches you off guard while you rock out and sing along right away.
“Lethal Enforcer” reminds me of The Cure and might well be an homage to them. This song offers great lyrics with Murray telling us “I’d say, do not throw away if it’s not working anymore!” So true, and something everyone can relate to.
Just when I thought that surely this record could not get any more energetic, the Scientists hit me with “Impatience“, a great rock tune that kicks you in the shins and yells at you to get back up. There is no doubt in my mind that it will be a future live anthem for them and one that should get any crowd going. When you listen to it, be sure to appreciate the little bass riff in the chorus that only comes up on the first part of each chorus, a little ditty which makes me come back to the song just to hear that bass again.
Keeping up the humor which the Scientists have shown over the past, Murray plays on an awkward situation between him and a lady friend that is not his girlfriend by telling her that he is “Spoken For” in the song that is titled exactly that.
“Altered Beast” and “Chick Lit” are your typical Scientists songs: witty lyrics, energetic sound, and sing-along choruses. “I’m sure by now you have noticed that there is no need to move. We are coming to you!” is a great way of summing up how excited the Scientists are to get to play these fresh tracks to everyone, be it on the CD itself or at one of their many live shows and that you can feel on this CD so vividly. They did a great job of translating that desire into the record and producing it just right so that you feel the energy like you are at a live show.
It all gets wrapped up with “Dinosaurs,” which is a great pseudo-punk song, We-Are-Scientists style and is one of my favorites on this record. Its forceful and energetic ending is an elbow in your ribs by the fat guy right next to you at the show, but you just don’t care because that’s what it’s all about.
Licking my wounds and happy that I got out of this crazy and exciting ride alive, the Scientists give me a chance to do so with the last song of the record. “That’s What Counts” is a great pop song that once again invites me to sing along shamelessly even though it might be late at night and my neighbors have complained about my singing several times before.
This record should leave no doubt in anyone’s mind that the Scientists are one of the greatest alternative-rock-pop-whatever-category-you-want-to-stick-them-in bands of this time and will hopefully continue to be for many years to come. It didn’t leave me disappointed, but ecstatic and excited. Excited to listen to it again. So let’s do it together! Come on!!