Album Review: We Are Scientists – ‘Barbara’ (Masterswan)

An album reviving the fantastic ziggurat riffs of the band's first effort

Their ‘With Love And Squalor’ album incontestably rocked, but follow-up ‘Brain Thrust Mastery’ dropped the ball somewhat. Adding those superfluous synths made the whole thing too polite, too lacking in the corrosive twang of its predecessor. After underwhelming sales meant that they were relieved of the obligation to make records for a major label, frolicsome funbags duo Chris Cain and Keith Murray – joined here temporarily by Andy Burrows’ Spitting Image puppet (played as ever by Andy Burrows) – have come up with a compromise. They’ve revived the fantastic ziggurat riffs of the first, and applied them to songs with more of the new wave sophistication of the second. The results often sound like the whole thing was pieced together in a morning, but at their best WAS are meant to be slightly slapdash. They’re having their own sonic keg party here: coasting through the fuck-ups on the basic likeability – the sheer shaggy melodic charm – of the hosts.

Gavin Haynes

Click here to get your copy of We Are Scientists’ ‘Barbara’ from the Rough Trade shop

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