"Barbara" by We Are Scientists

We Are Scientists
Barbara

Masterswan
2010

Review

Not much has changed with our Scientist Brothers friends. They are still with the self-deprecating lyrics, the catchy melodies and choruses, and best of all still with the funky bass playing of Chris Cain (at a recent (well-reviewed) LA show, they were selling "Bass Your Life On Chris" T-Shirts...and while I would't go that far, I do think he comes up with some great basslines).

I guess one main criticism that could be leveraged against the band is that they tend to do the same sort of song over and over again. Normally when a band incites that sort of criticism I tend to agree. It's more of that "These guys aren't going to say anything new this time"; call it fatigue (that's why I stopped checking for Mobb Deep so many years ago). But I don't tire of WAS because of songs like "Nice Guys". Yeah, I've heard it before but it's fun and manages to be just barely different enough that I don't reject it as more of the same...even though in many ways it is. This is evident in songs like "Rules Don't Stop"; they make great hooks and their songs have an element of playfulness and approachability to them. They don't seem that well known to me for some reason in spite of sort of blowing up when "Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt" was hot.

Also, I love how so many of WAS lyrics are about I love how so many of WAS lyrics are about all the strange ways that a seemingly awkward guy fails to get a girl. Not to say that this type of song is uncommon, but the songs sound so happy that sometimes you can't believe the lyrics themselves...imagine what a band like "Stained" would do with this from "I Don't Bite"

This isn't quite what I was counting on
I wish I knew just what you want
I wish that I knew anything at all
I thought the point here was to have some fun
I only want to get it done
I only want to get it

"Jack and Ginger" is a nod to "Brain Thrust Mastery" that brings with it some nice synth sounds and another killer Chris bassline. I really dig the additional elements in WAS sounds on songs like this.

It's about that time, I probably ought to go
No matter what I do, it's too late for self-control
If liked it I was hoping I would know

Pittsburgh is a very serious song (by WAS standards, anyhow) about how folks are "Only After One Thing"...and by "One Thing" he means "Sex". I'm not sure what this has to do with Pittsburgh, but yeah, there you go. You know, I think I like WAS better when they are rocking out than when they are closing down the dance. The follow up to this one, "Ambition" is along the same lines in terms of tone and although I dig the lyrics, I do feel like this sort of song is not always their strength. Granted, there are exceptions like "Foreign Kicks". I think it's all about the commitment to the emotion. Still, great lyrics.

So long, ambition
It's not a competition I can anymore
An odd position that I have a suspicion that
I have been here before

So if you've ever heard a WAS album before, you've heard this. If not, this is still a great place to start. This may not be enough to convert any one on the fence, but people looking for something light and playful and easy to listen to will probably find themselves picking up their entire catalog after hearing this one.

4.100 out of 5

Track Ratings

1. Rules Don't Stop (02:18) 5
2. I Don't Bite (02:49) 4
3. Nice Guys (02:56) 4
4. Jack & Ginger (03:23) 5
5. Pittsburgh (04:28) 3
6. Ambition (03:16) 3
7. Break It Up (02:57) 3
8. Foreign Kicks (04:00) 5
9. You Should Learn (03:04) 4
10. Central AC (02:42) 5