Only a few months after the release of the Business Casual EP, We Are Scientists are back with album number 4 – TV En Français. Asked to comment on the unusual title, bassist Chris Cain explains, “It’s in French, I think. At least some of the words.” Their sense of humor is not only obvious from this enlightening quote but also from the new record’s cover that displays a what looks like an instagram of a random motel and a sticker reading “the expensive new album”. Go ahead and judge this album by its cover because its full of irony and tongue in cheek lyricism.
Andy Burrows, who was in Razorlight before launching his solo career, once more filled in on drums. The album was recorded in New York City over the last year with producer Chris Coady (Smith Westerns, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, TV on the Radio) on whom Cain comments “The guy who was producing everything looked different from the one who did those other three records.” Having no idea what Chris Coady looks like, you can tell he’s different from whoever produced their other albums. The production is a little rough around the edges which gives the album the gist of a live recording.
Dumb Luck was already on the Business Casual EP. Back then that song didn’t really click with me but coming back to it a few months later it really grew on me. I guess the visuals did a lot for me here to really grasp how hilarious it all is. It’s always a bit of a chicken-and-egg situation for reviewer when you only get to spend so much time with a record before it comes out. Some things just need to grow on you or be laid aside for a while before you can truly appreciate them. Dumb Luck, I guess.
Make It Easy and Overreacting are my personal standout tracks. Overreacting has an extremely catchy chorus that sounds a lot different from the rest of the song which I find an interesting concept. Make It Easy was released as a single and as such is a very good choice. It relies heavily on its gripping bass line that slowly builds up to what is probably the greatest lyrics on the record “If it’s not worth doin’ it right, let’s not do it at all / It might be true, just might, not be totally false / I’d like to know what it’s like to finally get what I want / But if it’s not worth doin’ it right, let’s not do it at all.”
An acoustic demo of Courage was also on the EP. You could already tell from the demo version that the song has a strong The Get Up Kids vibe about it and indeed I was not wrong. It starts out as a semi-acoustic ballad but eventually the chorus builds up to a guitar driven crescendo. Equally previously released Return The Favour is a mid tempo pop rock ballad that slowly builds up to a cracking guitar solo.
TV En Français picks up where Business Casual left off, and this time I’m being literal. It seems like the EP was a teaser for the fans and a test object for the band to see how people would react to this new stuff. I think that bill has payed off. While WAS do not add anything to a well established formula, they do a much better job at putting out an album that sounds fresh than most other decennial indie rock bands these days. At the end of the day, TV En Français is a really enjoyable rock record that will keep you entertained for the upcoming festival season and it may just be We Are Scientists’ best work to date.
TV En Français is out on March 3rd via 100% Recordings.