Zachary Cole Smith has overcome a multitude of problems to make this intensely powerful album
We Are Scientists
Acoustic guitars + gags = top night out. Soho Revue Bar, London (February 20)
The new album plunges their former art-rock template forwards into mightily-chorused new wave, yet the songs are strong enough to stand up to the stripping down. There’s a widening chasm between the anguished emoting of the Scientists’ music and the surrealist goofiness of their persona. But this is a revue in the truest sense: a mixture of tunes that shouldn’t work but does. And they work because it’s spontaneous. “It wasn’t this intimate when I met my son,” quips moustachioed bassman Chris Cain on arrival. Second song in, Keith Murray stops dead to lambast an unfortunate girl on the phone, snatching the handset and telling the caller, “Do not call people when you know they’ll be at a We Are Scientists show!” The rest of the hour is peppered with cracks about how the tour is sponsored by 02/McDonald’s/whoever, and laced with subliminal messages to buy stuff. It’s terrific, but the worry is the gags run the risk of out-shining the tunes. And they don’t deserve that. Today’s a lovely taster, but next time, let’s rock.
The film adaptation of R.L. Stine's classic horror novels is shockingly enjoyable
A defiantly bangerless take-me-seriously-as-an-artist album that reveals new charms every time you spin it
The utterly gripping story of how The Boston Globe exposed child abuse within the Catholic church
Hitmaker-for-hire makes a silk purse out of songs rejected by Rihanna, Adele and others