April 23, 2018 We Are Scientists – Megaplex (Album Review)
Fans of musical groups Jimmy Eat World and MGMT – and much of the bubblegum-Pop music heard littering popular radio station channels these days – are sure to love NYC-based band We Are Scientists, especially after listening to their brand new album, Megaplex. If anyone out there is in the mood to have a good time, dance, and maybe think about life for a while had better get out a pair of headphones, because label-heavyweight 100% Records releases Megaplex for all to hear on Friday, April 27, 2018.
Mainly consisting of two key players – Vocalist/Guitarist Keith Murray and Bassist Chris Cain, both of whom have remained the band’s constant heartbeat – We Are Scientists has been edging the music circuit since its start in California around the year 2000, before trekking to NYC where the band now resides. In the process, the duo delivered a catalogue of six full-lengths, ranging from the years 2002-2016.
In 2005, We Are Scientists had a nice bout with success when it released its first official album With Love Or Squalor. So many units of the album were sold, the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) certified it Gold. We Are Scientists would go on to contribute songs to television shows How I Met Your Mother, CSI: NY, and The O.C., which ultimately proves just how busy the band has been during the length of its musical career.
What many fans will find within the confines of new album Megaplex are 10 songs jam-packed with Pop and Rock sing-alongs and groovy dance rhythms. Megaplex’s opening track, “One In, One Out,” starts out with a lonely keyboard part that would sound great in a Science-Fiction film or video game, before a set of attention-grabbing verses and big, catchy choruses take over the rest of the song. It is short, sweet, and to the point.
When second track “Notes In A Bottle” kicks in, though, the ears will be lovin’ the Indie/Rock-feel of the guitar notes and chords, and the shimmery sounds emanating from the hi-hats of the drums will influence a student-in-training to be a recording engineer. Vocalist Murray is at his best here too, and seems the most genuine on this track; he nails each verse and chorus with power and ease as he perfectly places every word to form one hell of a catchy tune.
There are a couple of heavier songs on Megaplex, as well—when Murray turns the volume dial of his distortion pedal to level 20, that is. Proof is heard on tracks “Your Light Has Changed” and “Now Or Never,” two songs that will sound ginormous in a large music venue with a decent sound system. Then there are songs on the slower, weepier-side of things, heard mostly on tracks “KIT” and “You Failed,” which will cause the listener to start thinking about sad stuff and such. This is right before being SLAMMED back into reality when last track, “Properties Of Perception,” comes blasting through the speakers.
Sure, Megaplex is a mixed bag of goodies with its sometimes-Dance, sometimes-Indie ways, but it will surely whet the appetite of hardcore We Are Scientists fans. Great musicianship abounds all over the band’s newest release—with one major standout: Bassist Chris Cain. There is an amazing bass-line heard throughout every song on Megaplex that will impress die-hard musicians looking to master their instrument. For a quick example of bassist-greatness, listen closely to tracks “Heart Is A Weapon” and “No Wait At Five Leaves.”
The vocal work of Murray is flawless. His voice is consistently strong and bright, where every single word this man sings is articulated to the “T”—perfect coherency formed from the use of an impressive vocal range. Murray not only sings well, he also plays a mean guitar. So far no auto-tune has been detected from the ears of the reviewer, whose absolute disdain for such a needless effect is widely known around a small group of friends – a very small group, that is. It is re-freshing to the ears, though, to hear someone who can actually sing.
And who could forget the inspiring, imaginative bass compositions filling Megaplex? (Hold up both thumbs to the chest and repeat the words: “Not I!”) Bassist Chris Cain’s deep, low-end sound of thunderous riffage is the hidden secret to this band’s success, even while being behind the main attraction. Props also need to be given to the person or persons involved that supplied skills on the drums, keyboards, and the myriad of sounds and effects heard adding loads and loads of depth on Megaplex; but without a CD jacket sleeve in hand, it is hard for provide any a proper shout-out.
Megaplex suffers from one downfall, however, which is how a lot of the tracks will remind music lovers of other bands—like MGMT, Walk The Moon, Oasis, or even Jimmy Eat World. We Are Scientists may not have broken new ground here, but with so many great sounds floating around on Megaplex, every song will indubitably appeal to everyone.
As for the production quality of Megaplex: Engineer/Producer Max Hart masterfully recorded one heck of a loud, boisterous album here, perfectly translating the sounds of We Are Scientists onto reel-to-reel (now known as Pro Tools). Big drums, big guitars, wet, fluid-like bass sounds—all of the music on Megaplex is crystal-clear, non-abrasive, and perfect to listen to on any speaker system, cheap or “top of the line.” So pick up those headphones, press “Play” on a favorite sound device, and delve deeply into the realm of We Are Scientists’s Megaplex. Petri dishes, flasks, and beakers are optional!
For fun-filled catchy tunes, great musicianship, and slick production quality, but for being a little too reminiscent of other bands already spread throughout the music scene, CrypticRock proudly gives Megaplex 4 out of 5 stars, and an extra star to Chris Cain for bringing the bass.