We Are Scientists - Megaplex (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

We Are Scientists

Megaplex (2018)

Grönland Records

We Are Scientists are a guilty pleasure of mine. For over a decade, they've been one of the cornerstones of my indie-rock listening career, and no matter how pop or mainstream they've gone, I'll always give them a chance. Their last couple records, starting with Barbara, kind of lost me along the way, and I chalked it down to being too old for this shit or the band simply losing steam. But thankfully I'm able to appreciate their experimental side a bit more as I crossed 30. 

Megaplex represents a pretty decent middle ground for the indie-bangers they put out in the early 2000s and this new wave the band's crafting: blending dance, synth and electro-pop in like a band that's trying to get that MTV fame back in its pocket.

Their new style is perfectly refined on the opening track "One In, One Out" which set me in a good mood for the rest of the record. It feels like what they tried to do over the last five years and failed at -- poppy hooks and a catchy vibe that really strays away from rock and roll but keeps an edge tightly locked in. It's catchy as heck, which they double down even further on via the balled "KIT." These are songs that break the mold so much and actually leave you looking forward to newer chapters, again... something I didn't think I'd say with WAS.

Then there are the guitar-driven tracks which pay homage to their old albums like Brain Thrust Mastery and With Love and Squalor; namely "Your Light Has Changed," "No Wait at Five Leaves" and "Now or Never." These are some of the band's most melodic, accessible jams to date, keeping in line with their earliest songs over a decade ago. There's even a lil' Weezer thrown in on "Properties of Perception" just for good measure.

But I must admit, the songs that throw me off are really... REALLY awful. "Your Heart is a Weapon" and "You Failed" are pretty much Justin Bieber-bad, and then there's "Not Another Word" which comes off like an uncreative attempt to ape Two Door Cinema Club. Had these been cut, it'd be an extra half-star but they kill the flow of the record so fuckin' much.

Nonetheless, I'm glad to say Megaplex delivers, rekindling the passion of old while still dipping its toes into waters that are a bit rough. Hopefully, WAS tightens up on the next go because I, for one, am glad they're still kickin'.