We Are Scientists: Huffy

We’re ashamed to admit we’ve underestimated We Are Scientists. We liked some tracks but never really got them; possibly because 2006’s debut With Love and Squalor came out at a time when there were lots of good guitar bands, notably Arctic Monkeys (and My Chemical Romance’s The Black Parade) and Razorlight, as well as decent pop bands like The Kooks; We Are Scientists’ blend of rock and humour possibly got a bit lost. And we already had Fountains of Wayne. And The Decemberists’ The Crane Wife came out that year, which is what we mostly listened to.

Anyway, apologies to We Are Scientists, and we’ve listened to all their back catalogue and it’s all good. This is really good.

We may be wrong but we suspect We Are Scientists have written songs in the style of all their favourite bands and not told anyone, or at least not the Press release. For example, opener You’ve You Lost Your Sh-t has the nasal vocals and tight, fast sound of Green Day, the chorus a proper Billy Joe stomper. Contact High is Foo Fighters, right down to those little skips on the drums that sparkle-toothed Taylor Hawkins so likes. It’s poppy and not at all Foos heavy but the sound is there.

I Cut My Own Hair could be a take on XTC or Gang of Four, with very angular guitar as the main riff. Just Education reminds us of Rick Springfield’s Jessie’s Girl so maybe Cars or Foreigner, all echoey guitar and tinkly synth. All that would explain the rather hilarious country tune, Bought Myself A Grave – narrated by a man who’s grown tired of his partner, with lines such as “I’m gonna lie down next to dad (in the titular grave) / and take comfort he was spared my time with you” and, “And though it’s not for me to say that you should go to hell / That sure would put a smile upon my face”.

As a contrast, Sentimental Education (a straight melodic crib from Manfred Mann’s Blinded by the Light in places) has far more erudite lines such as, “Now, there’s no shame in apostasy / As long as you can tell me what you used to believe”.

Catchy songs – and all very different – and witty and intelligent lyrics that you can list, too; what’s not to like?

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