Joined once again by ex-Razorlight’s Andy Burrows, New York duo Keith Murray and Chris Cain, aka We Are Scientists, are finally bestowing upon us their long overdue fifth studio album. Taking a break from their stint as agony uncles to their fans (check out the ‘advice’ area on the band’s website), they are taking us once again on a riff-filled romp through the angst and desperation of falling in and out of love, complete with obligatory enigmatic record title.
WAS tantalised fans last year with their EP Business Casual, which, alongside a couple of tracks off TV en Français, included their sublime cover of ‘Take My Breath Away’ – a homage to Top Gun dripping with pedal steel, the video to which (re-enacting key scenes from the film using Lego) will either delight or disturb you. Either way, it will give you an insight into what goes on in the heads of Cain and Murray, and it’s not pretty. Aside from off-the-wall music videos, the pair of jokers have in the past pulled off acting as fake interviewers at the NME Awards, and brought their advice blog to the Guardian covering essential topics such as ‘partying’, ‘wine’, and ‘writing a World Cup anthem’.
By all accounts TV en Français is more mature than their previous work, but don’t let that put you off. This album has something for everyone – for those of us who grew up with their first studio album, With Love and Squalor, the explosive licks, clever lines and backing harmonies (parallels between ‘Overreacting’ and their early hit ‘Inaction’ springs to mind particularly) will definitely make you smile; fans who were more at ease with the echoey studio-polished moodiness of Brain Thrust Mastery will feel more at home with ‘Return The Favor’ and ‘Don’t Blow It’; while for the newcomer…well, it’s just great fun. Yet it’s not all been done before – ‘Slow Down’ is a bit racier than we’re used to, while ‘Dumb Luck’ is very different, but hideously catchy. The slightly weaker track ‘Courage’ is more than compensated for, and the first thing you want to do when the album finishes is hit replay.
In all, TV en Français is a must listen, whether you’re a diehard fan or you’ve never heard them before. Catch WAS in Oxford on 6th March at the O2 Academy.