We Are Scientists – 'TV en Français' album review

The madcap Brooklynites are back, with an object lesson in confident indie rock

Time Out Ratings :

<strong>Rating: </strong>3/5

This album sounds just like the noughties – and no wonder. We Are Scientists shot to fame in 2005 with frantic indie disco tunes such as ‘Inaction’ and ‘The Great Escape’, accompanied by some very entertaining videos in which the Brooklyn band trashed a room to soothe a crying baby, or dressed up as cowboys rounding up Pomeranians. Back then, they were maniacal leading lights in the spiky, punchy indie rock canon.

Nowadays, it seems, they’re a little more relaxed. ‘TV en Français’, the fifth We Are Scientists album, sounds like nostalgia and listless summer evenings. At first it seems unassuming, moving gently along with few shocks or surprises – but it’s worth another listen for its pervasive air of quiet confidence.
That’s not to say that WAS have completely mellowed out. Their trademark energy and frenzied guitar-work is still present, particularly on the soon-to-be-live-favourite ‘Slow Down’, and they also play around with pop and rock styles, channelling everyone from Manic Street Preachers (‘What You Do Best’) to early Arcade Fire (‘Make It Easy’) to – we dare say – The Hoosiers on ‘Dumb Luck’.

It makes for a well-rounded album: you can tell the band are having a good time, and their playfulness is infectious. That’s never more the case so than on ‘Don’t Blow It’: a great example of a catchy love song that’s not too saccharine, which the band carry off effortlessly.
But that’s to be expected: these guys are scientists, after all, and they know the chemistry for a decent album by now. ‘TV en Français’ is a good, old-school indie rock record that doesn’t strive to reinvent the wheel, with a few killer guitar songs that make you want to get up and dance. Today’s young indie upstarts could still learn a thing or two from that.

What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments box below or tweet us at @TimeOutMusic.

Listen to 'TV en Français' on Spotify

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