For their fifth record, We Are Scientists have enlisted former touring member Max Hart to produce. With a strong track record of delivering thoroughly enjoyable indie pop LPs stretching back over the last decade – most notably With Love and Squalor and Brain Thrust Mastery, this foray gets off to a cracking start with ‘Buckle’. Hart has built upon and refined the formula utilised in more recent singles, such as ‘Dumb Luck’, creating a vast, bass heavy sound complementing the arena-sized chorus at play when it kicks back in after the enjoyably over the top guitar solo, embodying all that is good about We Are Scientists.
But regrettably it’s all downhill from here. There’s so much bombast, many soaring choruses but nothing to firmly differentiate each track. Things reach their nadir with ‘Too Late’, a limp wade through a range of clichéd lyrics, squelchy synths and drums that sound like they were recorded in an especially large room. Lyrics across the ten tracks can be viewed as weak at best – signature harmonies provided by Keith Murray and Chris Cain light up certain passages, but ultimately Hart’s production weighs down the record. It’s not the first time that a We Are Scientists record has utilised some of these tones, but the issue at play is the jaded collective effort.
In the end, what’s left is a dense, unlovable record that pales in comparison to past glories, a band that appear to have left their best days some distance behind.