It is very easy to like, even love, We Are Scientists. They make indie-rock that is somehow catchy without being cheesy, accessible without being watered-down. They used keys before it was fashionable. Oh, and singer/guitarist Keith Murray (QRO interview) and bassist Chris Cain have some of the funniest on-stage banter out there. TV en Français might pull back a bit on the catch, maybe intentionally, but it’s still another really enjoyable record.
The high points on Français come early, with opener “What You Do Best” and singles “Dumb Luck” & “Make It Easy”. “Best” and “Easy” have the emotion that We Are Scientists do best – for such funny people, their songs are never ‘funny songs’, but rather expressive without being overdone. Maybe if they’d been born a decade later they’d be emo, but that’s thankfully not the case. “Luck”, meanwhile, has energy and even some speed guitar.
Admittedly, Français is better when it has speed & energy. Slower songs like “Sprinkles”, “Courage”, and “Return the Favor” are nice, and still not cheesy, but don’t have as much of a spark as faster “Overreacting” or “Slow Down” (which doesn’t). Yet the album ends well by going bright (“Don’t Blow It”) then big (“Take an Arrow”) to close.
We Are Scientists have been slowly moving away from the hyper live songs from their early days, but they haven’t lost that, and are treading well into something more. Maybe now the Français will take notice…