So the previous week I decided to spend my time convincing you to stop what you were doing, sit down, and enjoy a nice relaxing night of (mostly) gentle music to pull at your heartstrings. This week is a little different. Honestly the best thing you could do with this week’s album is put it in your car, turn the engine on, and speed off (and by “speed” I mean the speed limit, of course) into the sunset blasting the music. With Love and Squalor by We Are Scientists is what happens when you take the heavy production out alternative music; there are only three guys in the band, so you hear three instruments. The guitar is not overdubbed into fifteen parts, the bass is not thrown into the background, existing simply because it is assumed that there should be a bassist in a rock band, and the hi-hat is the only thing panned hard left, so you don’t have to listen past production value to hear what the drummer is playing. What is the result? An album that is as enjoyable to listen to quietly with headphones as blasted through 15 inch speakers.
We Are Scientists do not spend time leading up to the catchy part of their songs, they simply begin with the goal of captivating the listener, whether it be through the long-decay delay in “This Scene Is Dead” or the immediate interplay between the vocals and guitar in “Worth the Wait,” or the tremelo which resembles simple distortion in “Textbook.” These guys know how to make catchy mid-tempo music and that is exactly what they do throughout the album; if last weeks album, Plans, asked you to take a moment and listen closely, With Love and Squalor asks you to sit back and enjoy the overall sound, even if it is passive.
The reason this album made it to my recommendation is because of how effectively We Are Scientists use their respective musical skills to produce an overall enjoyable album. They are not trying to play every type of alternative music because that is not what they do, instead they focus on what they can do well, which is make very catchy upbeat songs; that is exactly why each song is so good, the artist found a niche and stuck with it. So yes, take some time, turn on the album, set your dial to 11, and enjoy.
– Michal Walpole, co-host of Hipsters Worldwide, 9-10 am on Saturdays on WGTB Georgetown Radio
p.s. I know what you’re thinking, and yes, bonus points were given for having kittens on the album cover