Keith Murray and Chris Cain have been going at it since the early noughties. With the release of their debut album With Love And Squalor in 2006 they saw huge success in the UK with their indie pop rock and accompanying absurdist skits. It is clear that their goofy self-referential comedy is why We Are Scientists have such a devoted following and that is crystal-clear at tonight’s show at The Institute.
The guys ease us in with Return The Favour and jump straight into After Hours. The crowd are wholeheartedly singing along with a knowing wry smile. It’s refreshing to see a band playing catchy well-crafted pop songs whilst retaining a wicked sense of humour.
Bassist Chris Cain begins to tell the crowd about the sights to be seen in the Midlands. Murray interrupts, “He’s actually reciting the front page of a pamphlet entitled Midlands Attractions. Great font. Great font.”
Their deadpan delivery is probably why WAS have never seen much success in the U.S. Their YouTube channel alone is testimony to the fact that their irreverence isn’t for everyone, but We Are Scientists seem to understand only too well the sheer ridiculousness of being in a rock band. That’s not to say that they aren’t serious about the music. They are just equally as serious about having fun whilst doing it.
Tonight’s setlist is a plethora of power pop hits ranging from the out and out stompers like Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt and Dumb Luck taken from new record TV En Francais, to quieter bass driven tracks like Take It Easy. Murray’s strong vocals ring out across The Institute as the crowd sing back at him. The duo’s harmonies are unshakeable throughout and drummer Andy Burrows really is a live driving force.
The onstage japery continues as members of the crowd shout requests at the stage. Cain continues his exploration of what’s on offer in the Midlands. He says, “I smashed the best curry earlier on today. Absolutely smashed it. How about you Keith? Did you smash anything?” Before he can reply someone from the crowd bellows “Rob’s mom!”
Delighted by this outcome Keith says, “Sorry Rob but she told me she loved me. I’ll see you tomorrow morning.”
We Are Scientists finish up their set with fan-favourites Can’t Lose and The Great Escape, and the crowd are enjoying every second of their utterly listenable post-punk indie dance. The guys aren’t reinventing the wheel here but the music of WAS works and I would recommend plugging in your headphones on the train on a Monday morning and giving We Are Scientists a spin. Rest assured that whatever Keith Murray and Chris Cain come up with next, whether it’s their music or their videos, their jerky infectious tunes will bring a little humour to your day.
Review – Lisa Coghlan
Photos – Katja Ogrin