Reviews Music We Are Scientists — Barbara

We Are Scientists — Barbara

artist - album_title
We Are ScientistsBarbara
Virgin Records; 2010
10 Tracks; CD, LP


Review by: Sean McNamara

Barbara marks a triumphant return to form for We Are Scientists, and proves to be the band's most consistent effort yet.

I first became aware of We Are Scientists after hearing their amazing 2005 album With Love And Squalor. The infectious hooks and smart, powerful choruses of many songs on that album made it an instant favourite. However, after the departure of their original drummer, the band dropped the noticeably less energetic Brain Thrust Mastery in 2007 to mixed reviews.

"Rules Don't Stop", the first track on Barbara, sets the tone for the entire album, and gives you the feeling you get when being reunited with an old friend. It's short, catchy, and features the kind of melodic chorus you'd expect from Keith Murray (vocals, guitar) and Chris Cain (bass, vocals). Also evident is the powerful, upbeat playing of new member Andy Burrows (drums). "I Don't Bite" sounds a bit more crunchy, with a driving guitar riff that leads to a big chorus. "Nice Guys", "Break it Up", and "Central AC" all sound like classic We Are Scientists songs, meaning fun, energetic romps that all clock in at under 3 minutes.

There are moments when this album resembles the sound of Brain Thrust Mastery-era We Are Scientists, however even though these songs may slow down a bit, the melody and musicianship definitely do not suffer. "Pittsburgh" is one of the more enjoyable tracks on Barbara, with layered guitar and keys flowing into a soft, infectious chorus. "Foreign Kicks" and "You Should Learn" also dabble in synths a bit, but mix up the flow of this album nicely.

All in all, Barbara displays a slightly more well-rounded band that have sharpened their songwriting skills and learned a thing or two from experience. If you don't have this band on your radar, now is the time!

Photos of We Are Scientists at the Horseshoe Tavern.