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 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
We Are Scientists
Brain Thrust Mastery
Virgin

Rating: 6.2/10 ?


June 5, 2008
We Are Scientists aren't as forgettable as critics think, despite their name (touring with We Are Wolves and We Are Telephone would be a bad look, guys), their approach (an even radio-friendlier Hot Hot Heat with "wacky" videos? Oh great.), and a tendency to win reviews like Jessica Suarez's reluctant praise after assuming they'd be dicks. What they are is a classic alternative band with a boy band look. They had two pretty guys and one goofy guy - though cutbacks (presumably for Michael Tapper's hair and makeup) knocked the ratio down to 50/50 - and the Scientists are surviving on the bare essentials for verse-hook-verse rock: guitar-bass-drums-keyboards, which I think made them a little insecure. Well, that or pointing out that everything on their first album sounded exactly like everything else on their first album (this however was not a problem). So when you get to "That's What Counts," the closing track on Brain Thrust Mastery, it's a little hard to tell if the smoooooth saxophone is artistic bravery or a desperate grab for variety. The song is suitably R&B on an album that does whatever it can to not be what it is.

And for a trio-now-duo with identity issues caught in a struggle to retain their prominent sense of humor as they Mature, they do pretty okay. After the melodic but somewhat patience-trying opener "Ghouls" (ironically, "We all recognize that I'm the problem here" isn't a problem until it's repeated ad infinitum), the Follow-Up With The Godawful Title gets itself going for four wildly disparate tunes: "Let's See It," which hews closest to the first album's formula but with more crystalline buzz and squelch to it; the single "After Hours," an instant classic more people need to recognize; "Lethal Enforcer," which is on some VHS or Beta piles-of-reverb shit for New Orderites; and silver medal finalist "Impatience," which adds an elephantine stomp to an R.E.M. jangle and a merciless tambourine.

But, after that, things get really sketchy, in the sense that most of the tunes are just that, sketches, with an arrangement or melodic idea worth pursuing that doesn't reach high enough. They're also really slow; the next best thing to that early sequence, the clubby "Chick Lit," seriously picks things up again for four minutes with its siren-synth responses to Keith Murray's lines in the verses before sinking under a pretty forgettable chorus. And everything else drags so hard that when our Kenny G-imitating friend lights up on that final song it's hard to tell if They're Joking. The shame of this honestly quite likeable band is that they're not, which doesn't bode well for the future. I'm familiar with Hot Hot Heat's Happiness Ltd., so I've already heard the ending. Abandon ship, guys.

Reviewed by Dan Weiss
Dan Weiss is the music editor for LAS. Formerly an editorial intern at CMJ and creator of the now defunct What was It Anyway?, his work has appeared in Village Voice, Pitchfork, Philadelphia Inquirer, Stylus and Crawdaddy among others. He resides in Brooklyn where he enjoys questionable lifestyle choices and loud guitars.

See other reviews by Dan Weiss

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