REVIEW album Old Subbacultcha Old Subbacultcha

We Are Scientists disappoint with new LP TV EN FRANÇAIS

Old Subbacultcha

Old Subbacultcha

The band that made the soundtrack to 2005 with album With Love and Squalor return with their first full album in four years. TV En Francais is so secret Wiki doesn't even have a page on it.

We Are Scientists

We Are Scientists - TV En Francaise (released 3rd march)

So privileged am I to get a sneak preview of this unanticipated album, that there's next to no information on t'interweb about it. Perhaps the trio are way to busy sunning themselves in their native California to worry about us poor British music journalists who are hiding away from yet another week of rain. So, I can't bestow any fascinating facts about this album. I don't know where it was recorded or who produced it. Since they've not told me, like any good journalist, I'm going to make it up. This album was recorded in a badger set in deepest, darkest Cleethorpes. Wanting to break away from the indie clone moniker they decided to enlist the help of spirits via Derek Acora - due to the fact that he's a fraud, they couldn't channel John Lennon or Elvis, so they got the residents of Prisoner Cell Block H to produce the album, but the ginger fat one got into a scrap with a screw... I really don't know where I'm going with this. You'll be pleased to know that this isn't a French version of Eastenders (although, I've just had a brilliant idea for a concept album). Opening with What You Do Best, I'm sure I've heard this song before. Answers on a postcard please. It gets very repetitive - in fact I thought my CD player was skipping. CDs, remember them? It's very happy-clappy, up-beat, passive aggressive, run of the mill sort of track. Ah cool, Wolfmother. Oh no, the sickly sweet, up-tempo guitar kicks in and it's the second track Dumb Luck. They've tried to do some harmonising on this track and given themselves a bit more a rockier edge, but it's still very sugar-coated. This is what Buddy Holly would sound like if he was around now. Now we're heading into the standard indie ballad called Make It Easy, with a broken drum beat, tinkering guitar and gently crashing symbol. This is just Keane on Prozac. Ace, a forgotten b-side from Robbie Williams' reject bin. And I've totally lost interest. The lyrics are barely comprehensible and the only interesting thing about this song - Spinkles - is a half-arsed guitar solo in the middle-8. Oooooh my love, my darlin... no it's not that. It's another slow, mushy and melodic ballad in the form of fifth track Courage. Thanks for geeing me up Keith Murray (isn't he a comedian), Andy Burrows (wasn't he in Razorlight) and Chris Cain (shouldn't he be a stripper), I definitely need your words of encouragement with another five tracks to go. The sixth track Overreacting sounds like they've nicked it from The Automatic. If you remember The Automatic, you're as sad as I am. Although the only reason I do is because I remember getting very drunk in Po Na Na and doing a very funny (or so we thought) rendition of Monster. Sorry,  be here now. A poor album by Oasis, even Noel Gallagher thinks so. Sorry, I've done it again. I think this sums up what I think of this track. Now for something more edgy and I'm listening. I like this. I like it a lot. This has got more than a touch of an 80s power-ballad about it, but a lot darker. Return The Favor is by far the stand-out track of the album. It's got a great guitar middle-8 that packs a punch. And there's a tinge of melancholy to it. I have to be honest, the last three songs have been lifted from the repertoire of any Hoxton indie-clone band made up of middle-class boys with no balls. And we know this because the tightness of their jeans leaves little to the imagination. The album is typical We Are Scientists. For those of you that remember the indie-pop explosion of the mid-noughties, it'll be a familiar and well-worn sound. It'll make you reminisce about the boys and girls around the country who modelled themselves on Noel Fielding (I'm massively guilty of this) awkwardly dancing in sweaty indie clubs. I miss those days and listening to this stuff makes me happy. This album doesn't make me happy. It's just so boring. There's nothing special about it. They've not really evolved from their glory days. And like many of their contemporaries they have a signature sound, but it just happens to be a dated one. There aren't any ripping basslines, no catchy choruses, no shredding guitar or interesting soundscapes. The band lack any realism, so it's difficult to relate to any of their songs, which is fine for a pop band, so they need to inject some those killer hooks that make pop songs so contagious. They don't have any edge, they're like sticks of candyfloss with guitars and trendy hair. I imagine them wearing cardigans while helping their nan with the weekly shop. This isn't what we want from a rock band. We want them stage random acts of violence against their mates on Oxford Street while dressed as a priest (Keith Moon). We want them to drive Rollers into pools (Keith Moon). We want them to blow up drum kits on stage (Keith Moon). OK, you don't have to be as nutty as Keith Moon, but rock was born out of a rebellious, depressive and angry counter-culture. It's the genre of choice for protest singers. And We Are Scientists, well they do flower arranging on Sunday Brunch. Says it all.
CLICK HERE to read our interview with the band. 2/10 [soundcloud url="" params="auto_play=false&hide_related=false&visual=true" width="100%" height="450" iframe="false" /]