You may be aware that we had some pretty special visitors in town on Friday evening; namely New York indie poster-boys We Are Scientists. The more fortunate/prudent amongst you were probably there in the audience at The Duchess to catch their massively enjoyable performance. For those of you who missed out, rest assured, you missed out.
Opening act The Virginmarys were a bit of a bore, very well rehearsed and operating at a high volume in a ‘classic rock lite’ style. Presumably they are not without their fans. As long as they’re having fun it’s fine either way. But you don’t care about that. You want to read about We Are Scientists. Typically charming, funny and showman-like, the American threesome put on a terrifically fun show featuring a selection of songs spanning their three major label albums With Love And Squalor, Brain Thrust Mastery and Barbara, alongside a bevy of new songs which presumably feature on the album they’ve been working on over recent months – an album we’ll hopefully be hearing in full later this year.
For those of you unfamiliar with the music of We Are Scientists, firstly you should definitely make time to have a listen, and secondly it is in essence the compelling meeting between urgent post-punk rhythms underpinned by disco sensibilities, and wistful morning-after-type lyricisms wed to emotive, echoing guitars. It’s also worth pointing out that they cram about as many riffs and hooks into an hour long set as the majority of popular guitar bands circa-2012 combined. They also blossom in a live context – the music in itself is great, but when it’s being played to you by the kind of eccentric wits who regaled those assembled at The Duchess with off-the-cuff anecdotes about how the National Railway Museum in York trumped a Belgian equivalent as the latter educated children in the culture of snorting cocaine off smooth surfaces, it’s power to entertain rises exponentially. Deservedly, their set went down pretty excellently. Early smashes The Great Escape, Can’t Lose and This Scene is Dead yield predictably rapturous responses from the crowd, many of whom get the sold out venue shaking with a spot of quite joyously clumsy leaping. Lesser-known album tracks such as Jack and Ginger and Dinosaurs offer marginally more sober thrills, whilst the three new songs aired suggest an at times more poppily anthemic, at times more broodingly heavy slant on their sound will characterise their forthcoming fourth album. All things told it was a fantastic set, light-hearted yet edgy, crowd-pleasing and mature. Their next visit can’t come soon enough.