We Are Scientists - Lobes Music Album Reviews

We Are Scientists - Lobes Music Album Reviews
Steeped in ’80s revivalism, the New York dance-rockers’ eighth album is a hazy tapestry of half-remembered sounds and shopworn tropes.

We Are Scientists were never the center of the zeitgeist. The California band arrived in New York City just as the post-millennial party was winding down; they released their debut album in 2005, by which point it was apparent that the Strokes hadn’t changed the world after all. But where their peers fell by the wayside, guitarist/vocalist Keith Murray and bassist Chris Cain persevered, doubling down on melody while embracing humor, if not outright silliness, taking pains not to be confused with Weezer. 

It was a blueprint that could sustain a career, generating such tuneful records as TV en Francais, the 2014 album where they unveiled their neo-power-pop formula: Underneath the spiky rhythms and shards of guitar, the band was guided by hooks. They clung tight to their blueprint, finding variations on familiar themes all the way through Huffy, a 2021 album propelled by post-pandemic urgency; they seemed intent on rushing through their songs, giddy that they were getting back to the grind. 

Ostensibly, Lobes is the album where We Are Scientists dive into strange waters, a record where the pent-up energy that fueled Huffy drives the group into new territory. Keith Murray explained to DIY Mag that where Huffy was a “’‘guitar-rock’-focused record,” Lobes swings the pendulum to “electronic, synth-based dance-rock songs.” It’s a difference without distinction, partially because We Are Scientists have always traded in dance rock. “Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt” and “The Great Escape,” a pair of singles from their debut, neatly fit into the fashionable dance-punk revival at the time, and they’re not all that far from the stylized thrum of Lobes. It’s just that the emphasis has been flipped; synthesizers lead the charge, with guitars functioning as coloring and texture. 

The thick layers of keyboards and pulsating drum machines conjure ghosts of new wave, all performed by a group almost old enough to have experienced it firsthand. Curiously, nothing on Lobes feels born of personal experience. Rather, it’s a hazy tapestry of half-remembered sounds and shopworn tropes, all absorbed secondhand through persistent exercises in nostalgia, whether retro radio revivals, vintage MTV broadcasts, video games, or other bands who got around to resuscitating the sounds of the 1980s first. 

Many of the building blocks on Lobes feel purposefully familiar. With its glistening synths, “Turn It Up" echoes New Order; “Settled Accounts” is driven by a chicken-scratch guitar that tips its hat to Nile Rodgers; and “Less From You” throbs to a disco beat straight out of the glitter-ball glory days. While the insistent rhythms help give the album a retro-futuristic pulse, even on such ballads as “Lucky Just to Be Here,” Lobes is essentially mood music. Neither the frenetic melodies nor Keith Murray’s flat affect—on “Settled Accounts,” he’s a dead ringer for Julian Casablancas—can pierce the production’s gleaming, neon veneer. Pastiche is the entire point of Lobes. Maybe its period recreations provide some surface pleasures, but it’s not enough to erase the suspicion that We Are Scientists have turned into indie-rock journeymen, content to dabble in sounds and styles that have just fallen out of fashion. 

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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
We Are Scientists - Lobes Music Album Reviews We Are Scientists - Lobes Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on February 03, 2023 Rating: 5


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