It would have been far too easy to write off We Are Scientists’ debut, With Love and Squalor, as a marginal album by just another in a long line of 1980s New Wave revivalists. But that would’ve probably eliminated any chance of giving Brain Thrust Mastery a spin.
The sophomore release of We Are Scientists still emits those party influences in its gawdy synths and dance floor grooves, but it also expands on the hard-hitting guitar hooks that flickered and faded on the band’s first offering. “Ghouls” winds loosely with spiraling guitars, “Lethal Enforcer” exudes intoxicating pop bounce, and “Chick Lit” rides stabbing guitar wails and a hook-laden chorus.
We are Scientists effectively quells any thought that this is a one-trick band with Brain Thrust Mastery, a solid album that brims with a multitude of sonic flavors. We are Scientists has stepped into a sound the embraces the past while expounding upon a range of influences, from guitar rock to synth-pop, and succeeds by being innovative yet faintly familiar.
Brain Thrust Mastery is out now on Virgin Records.