It's hard to discuss For Science without mentioning the Ergs!. Formerly sharing a member, basic sound, label and tours with the New Jersey pop-punk heroes, For Science seemed to have taken their place as the Ergs!'s little brother. The two bands together could even be said to have started a revival of Ramones-core styled punk, albeit with more stylistic flexibility than predecessors like Screeching Weasel and the Queers.
While being constantly lumped together with such a highly revered band as the Ergs! can be a positive thing, with their second full-length, Tomorrow's Just Another Day, For Science has moved out of their contemporaries' shadow and proven they can stand on their own by continually experimenting with their sound and displaying a knack for consistently clever and emotional lyrics.
For Science's biggest strength lies with vocalist John Slover, whose diverse and sometimes out of control singing consistently takes center stage. Unafraid to land north or south of perfect intonation or even to belt out a surprisingly vulnerable outburst, his style is a breath of fresh air in an era defined by pitch correction and more-perfect-than-real recording styles. Throughout slower acoustic songs and wild old-school punk tracks, Slover gives his all, emotionally eclipsing any lack of singing talent with heart and poetic lyrics. Even his flaws, like sometimes putting too many words in a line or forcing an awkward rhyme, turn out to be more endearing than having any real negative effect on the listener.
In addition to consistent song quality, For Science is unafraid to switch it up stylistically. The opening track, "Even" might initially throw off older fans with Slover lightly singing a repetitive lyric over a continually building guitar line. It's an odd choice to open an album, but it works and sets the emotional precedent for the rest of the record.
Standout track, "Living Well" brings back the traditional high-energy For Science sound with Slover singing in his signature "about to lose it" style:
They say you have to suffer for your art, so I guess what that means is losing what you love. They say that absence makes the heart grow fonder, but I think my heart has grown fond enoughLater in the record, Slover laments an overly complicated life, wishing to own only a "color tv and a mattress on the floor." With lyrics like this, he consistently displays a talent for shining a spotlight on the vulnerable and reflective moments in life. Like a great short story writer, he can dish out strong relatable lines that hit home without coming across as overly dramatic.
While the songs are catchy and well-written and the band mostly benefits from a raw and less-than-perfect sound, the production style leaves something to be desired. The vocals are mixed low and equalized in a strange way and the drum sound is flat. This sound may have been the band's goal, but I would prefer a clearer production style.
While Tomorrow's Just Another Day is ultimately a flawed record, it is undeniably fun and worth a listen by any fan of catchy punk rock.