With Love and Squalor by We Are Scientists

Yes, those are cats. We Are Scientists, for all the Lonely Island teamups in the world, couldn't manage to play more than bit parts in the realm of 2000s post-punk revivalism, but it's not for lack of trying, talent, or efficiency. Guitar, bass, drums, voice, three guys, 37 minutes, minimal overdubs. It's not even a minute into the record that the explosions and touching start! It's a proper goddamn sprint of a record is what I'm saying, youthful, impatient, and sticky as all fuck (maybe from all the touching). The mainstream unfortunately never quite caught onto what We Are Scientists were up to, and that's a shame, because this is quite the lost relic indeed.

With Love and Squalor might play on the surface like a mix-and-match of their then-contemporary contemporaries (namely, The Killers and Interpol), but We Are Scientists trumps the lot by getting their shit down to...well, a science. Most of the magic comes down to Michael Tapper's hyperactive drumbeats, though without any synths in the mix, Keith Murray's guitar has to play lead and texture, often in the same part. It's downright economical. There's an awful lot to like about these three minute blasts of dance-punk, packed tall with tremolo picking, pummeling drums, incessantly rudimentary bass, and increasingly desperate barking. Ironic, given the cats.

With Love and Squalor

Essential: "This Scene is Dead", "Callbacks", "The Great Escape"
Quintessential: "Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt"
Non-essential: "Lousy Reputation"

Rating: Great
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