We Are Scientists’ latest record, TV en Français, is a terrific amalgam of indie alternative, big riff rock ‘n’ roll and New Wave frappé-d into a breezy album that has undeniable re-listenability woven into its DNA.
The album absolutely shines when it takes the undeniable talent of singer/guitarist Keith Murray and shoves it to the forefront of the record. Whether it’s his blistering guitar work or his sublimely harmonic vocals, when Murray is at the helm of a song, this album absolutely kills.
However, when the record becomes more of an ensemble piece and the dynamic nature of Murray is blended into the background, the album lacks flair and panache. To use a sports analogy, it’s equivalent to when a star player has to come off the field of play in order to catch his breath. Sure, the team does fine without him, but there’s still a void, something missing.
But let’s not downplay the talent of We Are Scientists, as a unit, at all. They are tight as all hell and when they know how produce a damn fine tune. It’s just that they have such a dynamic player in Murray that not exploiting his talent on every track seems like a missed opportunity.
The must-download track off the record is “Dumb Luck.” The guitar work here is an unique blend of ’80s finger-tapping shredder awesomeness and sweaty, Williamsburg garage rock grit. The gang vocals and sing-a-long chorus are the stuff ear worms are made of. And despite seeming somewhat out of place, the implementation of the keys in the song just really work.
TV en Français is a fantastically breezy record that retains the New York street indie creed that We Are Scientists built their name on, while adding more of a mainstream, guitar-driven feel to it. While there are some chinks the armor, the positives gargantuanly overshadow the negatives.