A few times a week, Gothamist publishes music reviews by our contributor Jeff Baum. The opinions below belong entirely to the author.
I headed out last night to catch buzz band du jour We Are Scientists play a set supporting Brooklyn indie mainstays Ambulance LTD at the Bowery Ballroom. While Ambulance is a perfectly good band, We are Scientists were the major draw here. This was their highest profile NYC gig to date. With a debut album right around the corner and a sold out UK tour kicking off in a month, this was the first big chance for everyone to see what all the fuss is about.
One thing that separates these guys from the dozen other bands being name checked across the internet every day is that they reek of mass appeal. This is music that should not only grab the attention of the downtown rock snob, but also to kids skateboarding in high school parking lots across the country. They take all of the best elements from both what is popular and what is respectable to create a sound that feels familiar while remaining equally unique. It sounds simple, but very few bands at their level are able to straddle this line so successfully.
This set, however, was as much a showcase of their personalities as it was their talent. For three guys playing perhaps the biggest room they've ever performed in, they kept it remarkably loose and casual throughout the whole set. Bass player Chris Cain, who looks straight out of central casting for a 5th grade math teacher (see right), playfully teased the crowd with mock pretentiousness that was genuinely amusing. Whenever Singer/Guitarist/Budding Heart-Throb Keith Murray pushed his mop of hair out of his face, he would reveal a smile from ear to ear. This may seem in contrast to the razor sharp guitars and dire lyrics they pour out, but it all feels genuine. There's no need to force an attitude when the music speaks for itself.
While they'll be out on tour for the next couple months, they will undoubtedly be back in town early next year to support the stateside release of their debut full length, With Love and Squalor. Keep an eye out for them.