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We Are Scientists – With Love and Squalor – Virgin Records

I always enjoy reading the press release that comes with albums I’m to review, since most times they seem like they’ve been written by one of the band member’s grandmother, using conflated words of praise.

But the one that came wrapped around With Love and Squalor, the new release from We Are Scientists, was quite enjoyable. It was framed as an internal communiqué between the band and its management, and pointed out the disingenuous nature of these types of press releases. The band then suggested that music journalists are venal and that perhaps, money could coerce a favorable review. For all you budding musicians and press release writers, take a page from We Are Scientists and don’t take yourself too seriously.

After this experience I approached With Love and Squalor with an open mind, despite the lack of bribe. “Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt,” starts things off with a charged level of energy that sticks in high gear through the rest of the album. The drummer, Michael Tapper, employs a strong arm and a complex style to make his contributions to the music readily apparent.

“Can’t Lose” stands out as one of the longer songs on the album, starting low and building to the crescendo in way that displays the trio’s ability to harmonize. Immediately following is the punk track “Callbacks,” where guitarist Keith Murray belts out the vocals.

Many of the songs and chords on With Love and Squalor have a very familiar feel to them to the extent that at times I became confused as to what album I was listening to. For example, parts of “Worth the Wait” made me feel as if I was listening to Muse. It is however, a clear product of the band’s influences, which seem to ride the Franz Ferdinand and Bloc Party train.

I am admittedly not that bright, though. My opinion is that it is a fun album to rock out to with only a few misses.


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