16
Apr
08

Smoothing Out Some of the Quirks: We Are Scientists’ Brain Thrust Mastery

Though California’s We Are Scientists’ sophomore album, Brain Thrust Mastery, was released last month, it somehow escaped my radar. It’s like I knew it had to be coming some time soon, that it had been coming for some time now, but I still managed to miss it. I loved their major label debut album With Love and Squalor so much that maybe, on some subconscious level, I was afraid that they wouldn’t be able to live up to it, so I just ignored that fact a second album was being released. With the departure of drummer Michael Tapper last year, I felt a bit let down – not that I would miss his particular drumming style, or even notice such a thing, it’s just that the three members, including vocalist/guitarist Keith Murray and bassist Chris Cain, seemed to come as one incredibly witty unit, and by leaving, he was disrupting it. However, now that I’ve actually decided to listen to Brain Thrust Mastery, I’m quite satisifed and can breathe a sigh of relief.

It seems that, for the majority of Brain Thrust Mastery, We Are Scientists have smoothed out the gangly angles of their first album into a waxy dancefloor and Murray’s vocals have gone the way of fey, and at other times, the way of Paul Smith of Maximo Park. The album opens with Ghouls, a track that features some dour synthesizer, semi-robotic vocals from Murray and guitars that careen in and out before they crescendo in the last third of the song. The mood gets progressively sunnier. After Hours is like colours exploding and effervescing in your head, reminding me slightly of Maximo Park’s The Coast is Always Changing, and Chick Lit is a fantastic dance tune that begins with a guitar line that could have been Arctic Monkeys but then carries on into something VHS or Beta would do. Chick Lit is also a song with one of the better lyrics on the album, including the line “We’ve got some sharp-tongue carrying on to do.” Both After Hours and Chick Lit have been the chosen singles for release thus far, but Lethal Enforcer seems to be the one making its rounds on the blog circuit. It is definitely one of the catchier tunes on the album with its ’80’s New Wave feel and shimmying rhythm. Impatience feels like it has borrowed the driving background of Arcade Fire’s Rebellion (Lies), but Murray’s vibrato vocal takes the song into a different direction. Album closer, That’s What Counts, is a breezy track with saxophone, not something I would expect from We Are Scientists, but it still gives me an enormous feeling of well-being – maybe because it makes me think of old sitcoms like WKRP in Cincinnati and Three’s Company…good or bad thing, you be the judge.
Of all the new tracks, Tonight and Dinosaurs seem to be the closest to the older sound of choppier and jagged guitars used on With Love and Squalor. The weakest track, in my opinion, is Spoken For, a ballad that feels bland despite its build to passionate bursts halfway through. The lyrics, which seem to be largely based on relationship doubts, may be the one area that I’m not as impressed with this time round. The cheeky, often self-deprecating, wit of songs like The Great Escape, This Scene is Dead, and Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt from With Love and Squalor isn’t as prominent this time. For an example of the potential of their weird and wonderful musings, see their Web site where they have an advice column (Example: “Question: What is the difference between a muffin and a cupcake? Answer: A muffin has a fish center. A cupcake has icing on top, and has a center of pork or boar. Muffins originated in France and are still considered a top-shelf delicacy in that country; meanwhile, Italians, who invented cupcakes, regard them as acceptable nourishment only for prisoners and cattle.”).

So, it appears We Are Scientists have weathered the sophomore album quite well. Though not as instantly likeable for me as With Love and Squalor was, Brain Thrust Mastery is still a very enjoyable album. And though they’ve smoothed out many of their original quirks and edges, they thankfully haven’t ironed out all their irony yet.

Chick Lit – We Are Scientists

Lethal Enforcer – We Are Scientists

That’s What Counts – We Are Scientists

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The only certain thing that is left about me

There is no part of my body that has not been used

Pity or pain, to show displeasure's shame

Everyone I've loved or hated always seems to leave

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So I turned myself to face me

But I've never caught a glimpse

Of how the others must see the faker

I'm much too fast to take that test

The Smiths Queen is Dead

A dreaded sunny day

So let's go where we're happy

And I meet you at the cemetry gates

Oh, Keats and Yeats are on your side

A dreaded sunny day

So let's go where we're wanted

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Keats and Yeats are on your side

But you lose 'cause weird lover Wilde is on mine

The Clash London Calling

When they kick at your front door

How you gonna come?

With your hands on your head

Or on the trigger of your gun

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Charles Windsor, who's at the door

At such an hour, who's at the door

In the back of an old green Cortina

You're on your way to the guillotine

Here the rabble comes

The kind you hoped were dead

They've come to chop, to chop off your head

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Then you came with your breezeblocks

Smashing up my face like a bus-stop

You think you're giving

But you're taking my life away

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Won't someone give me more fun?

(and the skin flies all around us)

We kiss in his room to a popular tune

Oh, real drowners

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Don't walk away

In silence

See the danger

Always danger

Endless talking

Life rebuilding

Don't walk away

Walk in silence

Don't turn away in silence

Your confusion

My illusion

Worn like a mask of self-hate

Confronts and then dies

Don't walk away

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You don't want to hurt me

But see how deep the bullet lies

Unaware I'm tearing you asunder

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Is there so much hate for the ones we love

Tell me we both matter don't we

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I don't know whether

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Whether to over or under estimate you

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You then put me under

Personal taste is a matter of gender

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I wake at dusk to go alone without a light

To the unknown

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Is it him, is it me

Or is there something only I can see

How did I get here, why do we blow around like straw dogs on the breeze

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But I've to stay on, finish levels-A

You don't need exams when you've read John Gray

The Indelicates American Demo

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Absolutely anyone can play the fucking guitar

JAMC Darklands

And we tried so hard

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Plucked her eyebrows on the way

Shaved her leg and then he was a she

She says, hey babe,

Take a walk on the wild side

Said, hey honey, take a walk on the wild side

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Hide on the promenade

Etch a postcard:

How I dearly wish I was not here

In the seaside town...that they forgot to bomb

Come, come, come - nuclear bomb

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Back when we were kids

We would always know when to stop

And now all the good kids are messing up

Nobody has gained or accomplished anything

Wire Pink Flag

Prices have risen since the government fell

Casualties increase as the enemy shell

The climate's unhealthy, flies and rats thrive

And sooner or later the end will arrive

This is your correspondent, running out of tape

Gunfire's increasing, looting, burning, rape

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Well, maybe there's a god above

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Was how to shoot somebody who outdrew you

It's not a cry that you hear at night

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And what costume shall the poor girl wear

To all tomorrow's parties

For Thursday's child is Sunday's clown

For whom none will go mourning

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My body is your body

I won't tell anybody

If you want to use my body

Go for it

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Oh it's opening time

Down on Fascination Street

So let's cut the conversation

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Mansun Six

And you see, I kind of shivered to conformity

Did you see the way I cowered to authority

You see, my life, it's a series of compromises anyway

It's a sham, and I'm conditioned to accept it all, you see

Japan Gentlemen

Take in the country air, you'll never win

Gentlemen take polaroids

They fall in love, they fall in love

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I know we suffer for fashion

Or whatever

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We just want to emasculate them forever

Forever, forever

Pretty sirens don't go flat

It's not supposed to happen like that

Longpigs The Sun

There's no perfume I can buy

Make me smell like myself

So I put on perfume

To make me smell like someone else

In bed

Calvin Harris I Created Disco

I got love for you if you were born in the 80's, the 80's

I've got hugs for you if you were born in the 80's, the 80's

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Does his makeup in his room

Douse himself with cheap perfume

Eyeholes in a paper bag

Greatest lay I ever had

Kind of guy who mates for life

Gotta help him find a wife

We're a couple, when our bodies double

Simple Minds Sons and Fascination

Summer rains are here

Savaged beauty life

Falling here from grace

Sister feeling call

Cruising land to land

No faith no creed no soul

Half a world away

Beauty sleeps in time

Sound and fury play

Bloc Party Silent Alarm

North to south

Empty

Running on

Bravado

As if to say, as if to say

He doesn't like chocolate

He's born a liar, he'll die a liar

Some things will never be different

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LCD Soundsystem

Well Daft Punk is playing at my house, my house

I've waited 7 years and 15 days

There's every kid for miles at my house, my house

And the neighbors can't...call the police

There's a fist fight brewin' at my house, my house

Because the jocks can't...get in the door

Johnny Boy

I just can't help believing

Though believing sees me cursed

Stars Set Yourself

I am trying to say

What I want to say

Without having to say "I love you"

Josef K Entomology

It took 10 years to realise why the angels start to cry

When you go home down the main

Your happy smile

Your funny name

Cocteau Twins Bluebell

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Doesn't she look a million with her hairagami set

Hair kisses 'n' hair architecture

Yes, she's a beautiful brunette angel from heaven with her hairagami set

Hair kisses 'n' hair architecture

Augment a beautiful brunette

New Order Power Corruption

How does it feel

To treat me like you do

When you've laid your hands upon me

And told me who you are

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You must let her go

She's not crying

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Baiting

Feeling like I'm waiting

Modern times

Valentines

Hating

Hating to distraction

Just leave them alone

Whipcrack

Girls in the back

Girls in the back

Puressence Don't Forget

They say come back to earth and start getting real, yeah

I say come back to earth and start getting real

I know I can't

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And you walk all over me

And I ask you what you want

And you tell me what you need

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The problem of leisure

What to do for pleasure

Ideal love a new purchase

A market of the senses

Dream of the perfect life

Economic circumstances

The body is good business

Sell out, maintain the interest

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Sitting in my armchair thinking again and again and again

Going round in a circle I can't get out

Then I look around thinking day and night and day

Then you look around - there must be some explanation

And the tension builds

Psychdedelic Furs

India, India

You're my love song

India, you're my love song

In the flowers

You can have me in the flowers

We will dance alone

And live our useless lives

Ladytron Light Magic

They only want you when you're seventeen

When you're twenty-one

You're no fun

They take a polaroid and let you go

Say they'll let you know

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No consolation prizes

Spit out your lies and chewing gum

Cut off your hair yeah that's it!

If you look like that I swear I'm gonna love you more

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All the neighbors are startin' up a fire

Burning all the old folks, the witches and the liars.

My eyes are covered by the hands of my unborn kids

But my heart keeps watchin' through the skin of my eyelids

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Prince charming

Prince charming

Ridicule is nothing to be scared of

Don't you ever, don't you ever

Stop being dandy, showing me you're handsome


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