We Are Scientists – ‘Huffy’ album review

We Are Scientists return with ‘Huffy’ – their first album in three years. From unashamedly romantic love songs to making deals, mortality and mental health, this record finds Keith Murray and Chris Cain offering their unique takes on all manner of subjects…

Opening in typically frenetic fashion, ‘You’ve Lost Your Shit’ kicks off proceedings with melodic yet fuzzy hooks and a list of concerns about someone’s actions delivered in a Craig Finn style: ‘Let’s presume we’re all OK here, not consumed with my behaviour’. ‘Contact High’ recalls WAS’ earliest material and is also full of knowing self-depreciation – ‘I think I can’t do anything or at least that’s my theory’ – while ‘Handshake Agreement’ takes things in a funkier direction with lyrics about walking through unforeseen disasters. There are DIY vibes running through lockdown single ‘I Cut My Own Hair’ that are soon joined by samba beats and a Tom Tom Club-esque bass-led breakdown before the double whammy of ‘Just Education’ and ‘Sentimental Education’ veers from a cinematic, coming-of-age soundtrack to something more experimental with just a hint of regret: ‘Why didn’t we just cut to the chase?’

‘Fault Lines’ has short, sharp and stabbed riffs battling with Keith’s almost-falsetto warning – ‘It’s time to get what you want but don’t forget what you’ve done’ – while ‘Pandemonium’ falls somewhere between Death Cab and Guided by Voices with another direct message to the subject: ‘You should be thinking about your last words. The album comes to a close with ‘Bought Myself a Grave’ and ‘Behavior Unbecoming’, the former of which is an acoustic piece written from a point of view of a jilted lover who lost everything: ‘Looks like you’re in an awful, desperate place and although it’s not for me to say you should go to Hell, that sure would leave a smile on my face’. As the lyrics get darker and more wicked, the sound evolves into more wide-reaching spaces, while the closer is all about how it feels when you just can’t tear yourself away from somewhere when you know you should be leaving: ‘I shouldn’t even be here if I can’t afford it’.

We Are Scientists have returned with another album full of bangers, showing once again they have the perfect formula…

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