Album Reviews - Reviews

We Are Scientists – Helter Seltzer


Helter Seltzer
, the fifth and by far the flashiest studio album from alt-pop duo We Are Scientists proves that Chris Cain and Keith Murray are back with a punch. Despite being prone to slip under the radar from time to time, the NYC-based duo manage to return with something bigger and better each time they resurface, staying true to their original and unique style, yet managing to reinvent certain aspects of their recognisable sound.

The now veteran pair have been making music for over 14 years and despite sporting a little more grey hair and a lot more moustache action, they’ve aged pretty well in comparison to their indie-rock counterparts Franz Ferdinand, The Fratellis and Kaiser Chiefs. As the group are remnants of an almost bygone era of music, one might not expect much from Helter Seltzer, however, the faultlessly delivered, ten-track album encompasses all that we adore about indie-rock – catchy melodies, snappy chorus=laden tracks and epic guitar solos.

Helter Seltzer kicks off with the effervescent ‘Buckle’, one of it’s strongest tracks which was recently released as the first single from the well produced album. The high-flown track echoes elements of earlier songs with with a touch of humour and a number of quirky aspects, cranking things up but also demonstrating the fact that the pair are staying true to what they’re good at, ultimately serving as the perfect album-opener. The track pays tribute to the friendship the two share and the video which accompanies the track sees Cain hilariously chuck all sorts of food over Murray’s face, portraying how the duo have certainly managed maintain their love of nonsense.

The album title, an amalgam of The Beatles’ iconic ‘Helter Skelter’ and Alka-Seltzer, the pain reliever for hangovers, further shows that the pair still consider themselves both, musicians and comedians, maintaining their wit and never taking things too seriously, creating their own sub-genre of obscure pop – exactly what we love most.

Another stand out is ‘We Need A Word’, a slightly more downbeat track that showcases Murray’s vocals to great effect. Like ‘Want For Nothing’ the track shows that the duo are also capable of producing both admirable and powerful pop ballads. Featuring a number of understated elements and honest lyrics, the track adds layers of texture to the album that’s a crisp portrayal of just how far the pair have come.

‘In My Head’ is one of the album’s strongest cuts. With wilder tones, an upbeat tempo, strident hooks, angular riffs and a slightly more intense feel, the track echoes the sound from earlier years, confirming that We Are Scientists haven’t reinvented themselves completely.

Ultimately, Helter Seltzer is an album produced with both obscurity and competence that reminds listeners why it was that they fell in love with We Are Scientists in the first place. Paula Murphy