We Are Scientists have built a career with clever rock and roll. Their wit has been prevalent in their lyrics that have covered areas of insane drinking, unrequited love, and at one point being kidnapped. They’ve managed to express these mostly common experiences in ways that only they really can while combining them with blaring guitars that seem to never fail at playing well with their words.
Megaplex marks the band’s sixth album and usually, around album six, some artists tend to soften their edges and take a more poppy, laid-back approach in order to come across as more versatile or maybe even appeal to a new crop of music listeners. We Are Scientists on Megaplex have definitely embraced some pop sounds but the difference is they’ve embraced the full gambit of what rock can be instead of merely “going pop.”
For example, out of the gate, we’re given “One In And One Out” a synthesizer-heavy ballad that makes you feel you’ve entered an 80s dance hall. It’s fun, it’s dancy, and the WAS spirit of endlessly catchy vocal hooks pierces right through. But then you get into “Your Light Has Changed” which has a loud, crunchy vibe and a chorus that makes you want to stick your head out the car window joyously shriek. And just when you think the experimentation is over, “Not Another Word” burst through with a funky guitar line and then, right at the end, “Properties of Perception” closes out with some crazy love child of The Smiths and surf rock.
Megaplex, much like its namesake, is a theater showcasing a wide variety of styles and incredible music sense. The thread that ties it all together is the voice of Keith Murray. Together with Chris Cain, the two have hit collaboration nirvana in not just taking their noted quirks and charm, taking noted risks, and elevating their sound to new heights. Keith’s vocals are the familiar nest for longtime WAS fans, but even he has molded and adapted his inflections to go beautifully along with the pocket he fits in from song to song. Megaplex will be a delight for longtime fans of the band and a treat for anybody who loves the entire pop-rock spectrum. It’s smart, smooth, and adventurous.
Megaplex is available everywhere now.