* Prices may differ from that shown
Buy for £18.67 at amazon?! I'm sure my one cost much less...
With Love and Squalor is the second album of one of my favourite bands, We are Scientist, released in the golden age of Indie bands. To be honest, I can't remember when this was realeased, if there was any hype or build up surrounding it, but if there were, I am pretty confident the album has lived up to expectations.
The cover art, first of all. I really liike it. Why are they holding up cats? We don't know, but it somehow adds to that odd atmosphere of the album.
The sound of the album was not new in it's time, resembling somewhat the Strokes or Wombats or any of the other big haired, skinny jeaned bands at the time. But there was deffinately a difference to it, some slight alternating from the mainstream Indie at the time, maybe because the were from America (but so were the Strokes... hmmm...).
I loved the crunching guitars and fast paced songs, great for dancing to. I loved the vocals aswell, but they were not great for singing to. Too high.
Of all the tracks in the album, I dont think there is one that I don't like. Of course, there were the hits, Nobody Move, Nobody Gets Hurt and The Great Escape, but there are also tonnes of less well known gems; Cash Cow is one of my favourites and The Scene is Dead is another. When my mp3 ran out of space, this was one of the only albums that remained totally intact.
I saw We Are Scientists at V festival and had never even heard of them, my friend dragged me along and I was unsure but went along and they turned out to be my highlight of the entire weekend.
Baring in mind th album was already out the first thing I did on the monday after the festival was head straight to town and buy it. In the past I have seen bands live and rushed out to buy their records only to find myself disappointed in it. That definitely wasn't the case with this album and all these years on I still love a good sing along to this as well as their latest studio offering.
I'd possibly go as far to say they are one of my favourite bands going at the moment and while there are a lot of indie style bands about i think they offer something different.
The songs are upbeat and catchy and they genuinely seem to enjoy their music and what their doing which I think shines through.
I first heard We are Scientists just after they had played a tiny venue in my home town, and boy have I regretted my timing over the past few years, even if I have seen them a number of times since! This first album is one of my favourites in the last five years, and I can honestly say that I really like 11 of the 12 tracks on here, the rather dreary 'Textbook' being the only thing which stops it from being flawless in my opinion. The album picks you up immediately with the opening chords of 'Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt', an excellent first three and a half minutes, and you really don't get a break until track 4, the slightly more contemplative 'Can't Lose'. Then it's back on your feet for the thrilling 'Callbacks' and from there straight on without so much as a pause to 'Cash Cow', 'It's a Hit' and debut single 'The Great Escape'. It really is an aural assault of the most pleasurable variety. Maybe that's why 'Textbook' comes next, so we can all have a break and go to the toilet! The album's last three tracks are as good as almost everything that has preceded them, with 'What's The Word' rounded things off perfectly, building to a crescendo before collapsing in an exhausted heap at the end. A brillliant album.
We are Scientists are an indie band from New York. At the time of the release of their Debut Album (well technically sophomore album), "With Love And Squalor", the band contained 3 musicians - Keith Murray on guitars and vocals, Chris Cain on bass and Michael Tapper on drums. The album was released in 2005 and developed a relatively large cult following soon after, mainly due to the band's unique website (wearescientists.com. Check it out!)
WAS did release a rare album before "With love And Squalor", called "Safety, Fun And Learning (in that order)". However, "With Love and Squalor" is widely regarded as their debut due to the rarity of the original LP. If anyone can tell me where I could buy a copy of their first LP, it would be greatly appreciated - I've been searching for it for months with no luck!
From a personal point of view, I love We Are Scientists, and personally I feel that this album is a grower. The more you listen to it, the more you can identify with, and in my opinion that is what makes it great. The band are all the traditional 'sci fi indie geeks', but instead of growing up and getting jobs, they decided to go into the music business. Even the title of the album is a classic reference for any English nerd (such as myself) to one of JD Salinger's short stories.
The album contains a number of classic singles. The opening track "Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt" was my most played last.fm track for the best part of 3 years. Its such a timeless track which anyone can identify with, and its no surprise that this is the key track on the album. Personally, I would have switched the positioning of this song and "Great Escape", just because I think the Great Escape has a better opening.
What cements the album together is the use of these amazing riffs and catchy hooks. The riff at the beginning of Nobody Move is brilliant, and I think the hook of "My body is your body/I won't tell anybody/if you wanna use my body/go for it" sounds so amazing on the album, and even better live.
However, although I love Nobody Move, I think that the second single off the album, "Great Escape" has one of the best openings I have ever heard to a song. It draws you in, and is so powerful. The vocals on that track are also amazing, but I think it lacks the personality of Nobody Move, Nobody Gets Hurt. Neverless, once again the hooks in the song are as addictive, especially the repetition of the line "I can't" throughout the song until it climaxes with a variation of the line (which I will not repeat as I'm not 100% sure what Dooyoo's policy on profanity is!!). The denoument of the song is one of the best you'll ever hear, it just sounds almost painfully passionate.
The other single off the album, "Its a Hit", is a good track, but I've got to say its not one that I find myself going back to again and again. It contains all of the other key features from the other singles, but they don't combine as fluently in this one. So for me 'its not a hit" (oh I'm so terribly witty...)
For me "This Scene Is Dead" would have been a more worthy single. It is a bit different to the rest of the album, but it is one of the songs that I love most. It has personality by the bucketful, and though the intro is a bit long the song in general works really well. The lyrics connect a bit better than those in 'its a hit', with lyrics like "Come on you can't go home, The night is young, I'm blacking out, but it's been fun" reflecting the darker side of the album. It is a good indicator of the sound of their second (or third. Or Fourth, depending on whether you count Safety, Fun and Learning or Crap Attack) album.
Inaction and Lousy Reputation are in my opinion the weaker parts of the album. They're the songs which could have been great, but they just fall short of really achieving their potential. Inaction is less of a disappointment for me, more just a below par song, but I think the lyrics and underlying riffs in Lousy Reputation make the end product really disappointing for me, just because they could have done so much more with it.
Cash Cow is a rather forgetable song, but is actually surprisingly good. I think that if there was one song on the album which I would rename, it would be this one. For some reason, I don't connect the name to the song. The song, however, is fantastic, with this powerful chorus. It is different from many of the other songs, but not in a disappointing way. If it wasn't for Keith Murray's overpowering accent, this song would not sound like a We Are Scientists song at all, but I sort of like that.
Can't Lose and Textbook sound quite similar, in that they're the slower songs of the album, with a similar riff. If I had to listen to just the one, it would be Can't lose. Textbook tends to get lost in the soiree after the magic of "Great Escape". For me, this is another case where the song order doesn't work well.
I think that what the album on occasion lacks is continuity. It jumps between fast and slow songs a bit too much for my liking, and whilst there are quite a few gems within the album, as a whole piece it falls down slightly. Surprisingly, one of the best songs on the album is also one of the last. The ironically titled "Worth The Wait" is a stand out song for me, mostly due to the immediate entrance of the vocals. I think this song summarises everything which is right with this album. Its riffs may not be on par with those in Great Escape, but it has more personality.
I think that this album is a show of the potential of We Are Scientists, as opposed to their skill. Whilst in my opinion they have yet to better the heights of tracks such as "Nobody Move, Nobody Gets Hurt", the second album (as in "Brain Thrust Mastery") is on average an improvement on this outing. The compilation album which occurred in the middle of the two is of a lower standard, and I would say only a necessity for the We Are Scientist enthusiast.
My love of this album was not at all influenced by my love of cats and crush on Keith Murray. Ahem.
1. "Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt" - 3:12
2. "This Scene Is Dead" - 3:43
3. "Inaction" - 2:32
4. "Can't Lose" - 3:31
5. "Callbacks" - 2:02
6. "Cash Cow" - 2:35
7. "It's a Hit" - 3:26
8. "The Great Escape" - 3:18
9. "Textbook" - 4:01
10. "Lousy Reputation" - 2:35
11. "Worth the Wait" - 2:43
12. "What's the Word" - 3:17
'With Love and Squalor' was the debut album from California's We Are Scientists. This three piece first introduced their edgy indie-pop to the world in 2004/5 depending when you discovered them! To a mixed response, the album gave a new edge to the UK music scene in October 2005 when this album was released.
Each track follows on from the previous, each sits nicely with the next and are catchy, featuring the pre-released singles of;
~ Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt,
~ It's a Hit,
~ The Great Escape.
~~ Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt ~~
With an instantly recognisable riff to start it, this track is a great opener, displaying the vocal talents of Keith Murray. It is 3.12 of pure indie rock to get you jumping around in your bedroom, doing your ironing or driving!
~~This Scene is Dead ~~
Following on from track one, it continues to keep you bouncing around. The lyrics, are more than likely reflective of at least one night out in your life1
~~ Inaction ~~
One of my favourite tracks of the entire album. The lyrics stick in my head for hours, and left me singing for days. Id have to say despite never seeing this band live that this would be the most crows surfing worthy track of the set!
~~ Can't Lose ~~
The fourth track off this fantastic album. Again lyrically the track describes a lot of drunken antics that most of the listeners will have experiences.. A definite teenage track!
~~ Callbacks ~~
This track particularly reminds me of the E4 show 'skins' it has quick paced lyrics worthy of a teenagers diary. Never the less if you are a fan of fun indie, then this is perfect for you.
~~ Cash Cow ~~
All through this album riffs maintain an incredibly prominent place in each track, and this is no exception! Another track that shows Keith Murray's vocal talents and Michael Tapper's drum skills.
~~ It's A Hit ~~
The most well known track that never gets old! Played so much and made famous by the lyrics 'I've been hit,' a track that is guaranteed to get me on the floor!
~~ The Great Escape ~~
Accompanied by a great video, this song is a great shower track or even karaoke for that matter. The cord sequence throughout is another that will stay in you head for hours.
~~ Textbook ~~
The slowest track on this album, could be accused of being a bit boring and tedious, but despite this it does have meaning to the lyrics! ' Having every question answered isn't gonna help at all' does give you cause to think
~~ Lousy Reputation ~~
My definitive favourite track, one I always have on when I'm getting ready to go out. Making me sing out so loud its such a feel good track! With heavy bass and strong guitar you really can't go wrong!
~~ Worth the Wait ~~
The penultimate track, starts strong and carries on that way, has a great bass riff that will get you nodding your head.
~~ What's the Word ~~
The drum beat at the beginning does make you wonder about the direction of this track, but a few seconds in the trademark riffs and vocals kick in. for the ultimate end to a brilliant album.
This album is pretty difficult to put into words, but if you are a fan of anything like The Futureheads, Maximo Park or Plain White T's you are sure to like this album! Give it a try in a lot of places at the moment its on offer for under £10!
There was a lot of hype about this New York based trio before the release of the 'With Love and Squalor' album as it was expected to be something really quite special. Usually I would say never believe the hype, but with We Are Scientists things were always a little bit different. I say this because the band had already provided an impressive Lamacq live session, and one of the bands songs had already been chosen to be Zane Lowe's record of the week before the album was even released. The early signs were strong and 'With Love and Squalor' was therefore gearing up to be an excellent album release. Right from the very first moment I heard this album I was mightily impressed, the music truly is brilliant and this album has been exceptionally well put together by the great indie band that it We Are Scientists.
I can definitely say that this is one of the best albums that I have heard in a long time. The band sure knows how to write great music and as a result We Are Scientists here came out with a 12 track album where any of the tracks from it could easily have been released as singles. The album is magnificent from start to finish and never is there a dull moment here. The music is absolutely sensational and with this album all three members of We Are Scientists really prove themselves to be exceptionally talented musicians.
This album actually kicks off with lead single 'Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt', opening the album in style and leaving you wondering how the rest of the album could possibly compare. Somehow the band managed to do it though and wrote an entire album of elegant indie rock masterpieces. There are so many stand out tracks on this album; 'Cash Cow' and 'The Great Escape' however are two tracks that will never get old no matter how many times I play them. The music is full of such energy and excitement, never does the music of We Are Scientists leave me in the slightest bit disappointed and always in fact the sound that We Are Scientists here produce is entirely enthralling. The music is extremely lively and always the bands music is full of fiery passion.
This band writes catchy music and 'With Love and Squalor' is an absolutely sensational album from We Are Scientists. Never does the music on display on this album ever fail to impress in the slightest. Always the band here sound sensational and at all points of this album the music has my full undivided attention. There are few bands that I appreciate the music of as much as We Are Scientists, this band really is excellent and with this album a great deal of talent is shown to be on display. 'With love and Squalor' is without doubt one of my favourite album releases from recent years, an album that I have played many times and always enjoy listening to greatly.
Label: Virgin Records
Release Date: October 17th 2005
Originally posted by me on my website Alt-UK.com
Released in October 2005, With Love and Squalor is the debut album from New York dwelling but Californian born trio, We Are Scientists. The record is a familiar blend of indie/alt rock with a dash of punk and some undeniably catchy hooks. On first inspection you could be forgiven for dismissing this record as simply another Kaiser Chiefs or Hard-Fi rehash but given time this is an album that reveals many treats and surprises. Like a fine wine left to age, With Love and Squalor, is an album that seems to get better with each passing month. That is not to say that its influences aren't obvious, it is easy to see The Killers, Editors, Franz Ferdinand et al in this record, but the important thing is that they never reuse or regurgitate, rather they borrow and refine, improving on past efforts and producing some songs of very high quality. The Scientists' pluck themes and ideas from everyday life and using their own style of acerbic wit they mould their songs into catchy 3-4 minute stories with a blend of great lyrics and catchy riffs.
The first track, 'Nobody Move Nobody Get Hurt', is an excellent opener for the album, starting with a repetitive but ultimately catchy riff, the drums and bass join in quickly to provide a solid grounding for Keith Murray's doleful lyrics. The vocals on this record are a case of personal preference. Some people have levelled the accusation that Murray's vocals are too mournful and self pitying but I think they set the music off perfectly, adding a trace of woe against the backdrop of the often bright and energetic music, which provides an interesting and absorbing contrast. The result on the first track is an excellent three minute rock song, which sets the standard for the songs to come and rarely do the band eclipse the subtlety and simple pleasures afforded by this great track. Up next is the soulful 'The Scene Is Dead', which has a slightly forlorn feel, and this time the music seems to mirror Murray's vocals. A slow, throbbing bass line is accompanied by a slow but catchy guitar riff which explodes into a chorus of defiance where Murray's vocals are at there most forceful and self assured and the guitars are brash and Nirvana-esque.
One downside to the record is that all the songs are somewhat similar and it is notable that the stand out tracks are the ones that branch out a little and offer something slightly different. The start of the album is great for this and the first five tracks are pretty varied. 'Inaction', track number three, is a great little punk song with a lot of attitude, spectacularly sharp and angular guitars and a sing along chorus. At just over three minutes long it is short and to the point, leaving you with that feeling of wanting more, which something I like in a song. On 'Can't Love' the band slow things down for a more introspective track, with a slow meandering bass line and drawn out vocals. 'Cash Cow' a tirade against consumerism and following track, 'It's a Hit' take a step back towards the opening track and both have catchy tunes and a distinct sense of fun, which is shown in the edgy, witty lyrics and sing along choruses.
In market where new bands seem to be springing up every day 'We Are Scientists' don't seem to have garnered the sort of appreciation that their debut record deserves, but then that is hardly surprising in a genre which is already overloaded with sound alike bands and promises to collapse under the weight of its own mediocrity. Whether the band go on to produce an album of true and unabashed quality may well be down to their ability to evolve, because the indie/alt/post-punk market is one under severe strain and the record buying public must surely be at the limits of tolerance for bands that are seemingly happy to sound the same. The 'Artic Monkeys' and 'Muse' and have ostensibly broken out of the pack and have both produced albums of originality and with this record I get the feeling that 'We Are Scientists' have it in them to break the mould. Tracks such as 'The Great Escape', easily the best on the record, show the sort of promise this band has and their obvious ability to think outside the box. The song's punchy guitar riff, and pounding bass line coupled with the sputtering vocals make for entertaining and sparkling originality, something which would have been more than welcome across the whole of this record. Their promise of potential innovators is enhanced by 'Callbacks', which turns the heat up with a raucous intro reminiscent of 'At the Drive In'. This is probably the most energetic track on the record and Murray's vocals take a step up to match the song's feel, almost to the point of aggression. Its acute and distorted guitars blare and howl alongside the lyrics, with Keith Murray producing some of his finest vocal work, dropping the maudlin tones and opting for a heavier and more punchy style.
From track eight onwards though the record starts to fade away and the last two tracks might as well have been dropped to give the record a shorter and snappier kind of feel, but that doesn't seem to be the trend in today's market. 'Worth the Wait' and 'What's the Word' are not bad songs but by this point their hooks are all too familiar and you get the feeling that the band are starting to run out of ideas and that they are just going through the motions without much thought for originality. 'Lousy Reputation' is one of the brighter points for the back end of the record and its dominant bass notes and Murray's heart felt vocals add weight to its appeal. At this point the band start to sound more and more like their predecessors and threaten to descend into rehashing old ideas but just about scrape through without making too many overly obvious nods to other bands.
The influences of this record are undoubtedly, glaringly obvious, but luckily it doesn't get to the point where it feels fake or forced. This is one of the main reasons that the album needs several listens before being truly appreciated because at first it is easy to simply pull out the various influences and brand the record a simple rehash but given time the Scientists' clever wit and intelligent lyrics set them apart from bands of similar ilk. That is not to say the band don't have things to work on. While they have produced some songs of unerring quality the back end of the record is severely lacking and the record seems to fade out with each passing song. Rather than keeping some aces up their sleeves, We Are Scientists have loaded their most impressive songs into the front of the album, and when the record should be giving its finest, to leave a lasting impression on the listener, the songs just don't grab you like the first half of the record. I don't think it is even a case of the songs being bad in themselves, but just a mistake in the way they were positioned on the album. I feel the band would have been better served by an equal smattering of their best tunes across the whole of the record, thereby ensuring the listener is engaged throughout. Despite this though, the album still contains some excellent rock songs and We Are Scientists have shown great potential with this record. If you're a fan of any of their influences then I'm sure you will enjoy this album just as much. As a side note, any band name dropped by Harry Potter (aka actor Daniel Radcliffe) can't be bad, so give 'em a try!!
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt
2 This Scene Is Dead
4 Can't Lose
6 Cash Cow
7 It's A Hit
8 The Great Escape
10 Lousy Reputation
11 Worth The Wait
12 What's The Word