We Are Scientists – Helter Seltzer
You’ve heard it before: indie band makes waves with intoxicating studio debut, and lives forever in its shadow. In the decade since the squeaky-clean novelty of their heavy-on-the-bangers breakout album With Love and Squalor, We Are Scientists have consistently aspired to – but fallen short of – that same greatness.
Helter Seltzer – their fifth – might bump the same ceiling as earlier outings, but it’s a much stronger return to their shameless hits, and light on filler.
First track Buckle is catchy to a fault, with its tumbling drumbeat and nee-naw siren chorus, and makes restarting the record after track 10 that much more fun. It’s one of a handful that bare their distortion-gnarled teeth (Classic Love being another), the majority drawing on Cain & Murray’s poppier template: well produced overlapping vocals (Hold On, We Need A Word) and snazzy, wavering synths (In My Head, or the melodramatic closer Forgiveness), buffing the album to a gleam.
It’s not teeming with future classics, but it’s their most solid and replayable record since Brain Thrust Mastery. [George Sully]