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We Are Scientists continue to roll as a quartet
by Albert Rodriguez - SGN A&E Writer

We Are Scientists
Wednesday, July 9 - 9 PM
Neumos


On the night We Are Scientists played their first headlining show in Seattle, a concert sponsored by Seattle Gay News at the The Crocodile Cafe in October 2005, a crowd of roughly 25 people witnessed the birth of a great rock band. On the group's next Emerald City swing-through, also sponsored by Seattle Gay News and also at The Crocodile Cafe, the show was entirely sold out with Arctic Monkeys and Ben Harper in the audience. Late in 2006, the Brooklyn-based unit performed to another sold-out house - this time at a bigger venue, Neumos. And then came the changes. First, Max Hart was introduced as a permanent keyboardist-guitarist, stretching the act from a trio to a quartet. Very soon thereafter, drummer Michael Tapper exited the band to pursue other interests, reversing the group back to a trio. The news of Tapper's departure remains as puzzling today as it did back in November because he left only days ahead of a mapped-out European tour. The two remaining original members, vocalist-guitarist Keith Murray and bassist Chris Cain, issued a media statement noting that the split was amicable - arousing more suspicions and unsettling from devoted followers. But the show had to go on, which lead to Adam Aaronson's (of The High Speed Scene) temporary assignment on drums. Hello, quartet.

We Are Scientists released their sophomore album Brain Thrust Mastery in mid-May, an eagerly awaited follow-up to the band's lauded debut With Love and Squalor (SGN's Top Ten Albums/CDs, 2006). The new project is a craftier collection of songs, like "After Hours" and "Chick Lit," though it lacks the punch and speedy riffs that stood out on tracks such as "Inaction" and "The Great Escape" on its predecessor. This doesn't mean that it's not as good as the first record, it just means that it's different. In fact, it feels like an entirely different artist - and indeed that's exactly what it is. If you're unfamiliar with We Are Scientists altogether, I suggest listening to With Love and Squalor and then waiting a few days to check out Brain Thrust Mastery. What hasn't changed from disc to disc is the act's pursuit of a good time, always in the mood for a solid dose of harmless fun such as their Western-themed, pistol-packing (I think that's a pistol) music video for "Chick Lit." On two separate occasions that I've shared microbrews with We Are Scientists, our topics included bad porn, episodes of The OC, and Justin Timberlake's chump-to-superstar transition. I love these guys for bringing that same spirited attitude to their live performances, which is why I and other local fans of this trio-turned-quartet is dying to see them for the first time in nearly two years.

At Neumos, expect We Are Scientists to vacillate between their two albums, though I'm guessing they'll attempt to play as many tracks from Brain as possible. Murray, one of the sexiest lead singers in the business, usually banters with Cain about stuff way over concertgoers' heads - I sometimes never honestly know what they're talking about. Cain, a proud papa and hilariously funny guy in person, dressed up in a pink Teletubby-like outfit on the band's previous stop in Seattle as a dare. While the group has a significant fan base in the US, they're huge in the UK and I've heard rumors that a cluster of overseas diehards are headed to Seattle for Wednesday night's show. Having toured with Arctic Monkeys and Kaiser Chiefs, and soon hitting the road with R.E.M., We Are Scientists are well on their way to an amazing career - exactly what I envisioned when I listened to an advance copy of With Love and Squalor three years ago. They recently appeared on VH1's Best Week Ever and are scheduled to jam on the Letterman show on July 28. Any fan of The Killers, Franz Ferdinand, The Raconteurs or Weezer should really give this concert strong consideration. With the addition of a side-stage performance at the Sasquatch Festival in 2006, I've seen We Are Scientists four times, and I've never left their shows disappointed or dry.

Artist essentials: Watch the "Chick Lit" video on YouTube and download "Inaction" to your MP3 player immediately.

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