Today marks the (UK) release for We Are Scientists’ third full length album, Barbara. Do you have your copy yet? If you can’t get to your local record store to buy it, why not buy it at these fine online retailers?
Americans- don’t feel left out! You can buy this on Tuesday at your local record store or you can order through these sites without having to figure out currency conversions.
Europeans and Australians! There’s a list at the WAS site right now that has links to find out where you can get your copy.
Everybody else, please check your local record store or order from some online retailer like Amazon to get your copy of Barbara!
And there’s a bunch of people who have reviewed this album, are you interested in what the press have to say about it? Click on the cut below to see the reviews for Barbara so far…
Alternative Press (3.5 out of 5)
Barbara finds them back in their comfort zone–fun, danceable pop-rock
AV Club (B)
And really, frontman Keith Murray seems more comfortable when he’s flaunting his bad-boy skills and blaming things on the a-a-a-a-a-alcohol than when he’s letting his emotions get in the way. (Really, lines like “Although it may seem unconventional / sometimes indiscretion is worth a try” sound better atop a catchy groove than under a pile of unhinged post-hardcore.)
The album’s zenith is surely ace drinking paean Jack & Ginger. Aside from the verses of scuffed guitars and the cute kids TV show synthy melody, there’s a chunk of Elvis Costello regret in the chorus as Murray intones: “No matter what I do, it’s away too late for self-control.”
The Bellingham Herald (7 out of 10)
It successfully combines the best elements of two very different predecessors into one complete sound. Every track on this album isn’t a total winner, but enough of them are to leave a strong overall good impression.
But “Barbara” slumps when We Are Scientists slows the tempo for songs like “Pittsburgh.” The lush track doesn’t quite reach its potential without the band’s usual pop sensibilities.
Bizarre Radio (12 out of 15)
This review is in German, but I have to point out a part I thought was silly the way Google translated it:
“When Jack & Ginger, they succeed with their original sound poppier elements merge – and somehow makes the song feel like cold drink and chewing gum.”
When I stop dancing around the room and start paying attention to the lyrics, I’m pleasantly surprised to discover they are also creative and fun.
Bring On Mixed Reviews (3 out of 5)
It feels like “Barbara,” while being a pleasantly catchy and melodic indie rock album, isn’t very adventurous or experimental. Not all bands have to be, but when you are in the same league as Bloc Party, The Futureheads, and Ok Go, you really have to go hard or go home.
Click Music (3 out of 5 stars)
‘Barbara’ feels like homogeneous song writing by numbers, and despite each track being pleasant enough, the album plays out just the way you expect without generating so much as a raised eyebrow
Consequence of Sound (3 out of 5)
While much of Barbara may have already been done and redone so many times recently that the album is now less irresistible than it would have been years ago, the band delivers on what it has always done best.
Mark Twain once stated, ‘the difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter.’ WAS should take note, as ‘Barbara’ is the musical equivalent to wearing a Juventus shirt to St. James’ Park.
Barbara has an overall summer feel to it, which is just as well as We Are Scientists will be performing at a host of festivals this summer (including Reading & Leeds) and the collection of songs mixed with their top 40 hits could make for a major festival highlight for many fans.
Barbara is all bouncy guitars and ironic moshing, every track a shoutalong anthem-in-waiting, a party album for boys in skinny jeans and girls in cutesy shifts who drink pints.
Daily Echo (4 out of 5)
While not as fresh and vibrant as that magnificent debut it certainly carries on the good work of a band now a decade old. Has it really been that long?
Dotmusic (7 out of 10)
Veering between the shimmering guitar pop of ‘Jack & Ginger’, the brooding slow build of highlight ‘Pittsburgh’ and the delicate harmonics of ‘Foreign Kicks’, We Are Scientists’ third is an album that manages to remain both exciting and consistent throughout
Drowned in Sound (5 out of 10)
Sadly, Barbara descends into the refuse tip marked ‘indie landfill’ all too often, and even when the anti-Drums surge of ‘Foreign Kicks’ with its “Forget about the summer, it’s over!” battle cry threatens to halt the monotony for three minutes or so, their valiant but lost cause has an air of futility to it.
Eat Sleep Drink Music (3 1/2 out of 5)
The album is not a carbon copy of Squalor, though. Yes, leadoff track and first single “Rules Don’t Stop” will have fans of “The Great Escape” jumping for joy, but Murray isn’t ready to give up on the melodic territory he explored with his vocal tracks last time around.
The End of Irony.net (2 stars)
with this being the band’s first album free of a major label, it would’ve been nice to hear things get more daring–or at least more memorable.
Keith Murray and Chris Cain roped in ex-Razorlight drummer Andy Burrows to complete the quirky, simple American pop rock that admittedly, serves up a good amount of hooks.
The Fly (4 out of 5)
…they’ve also unleashed a fistful of songs that’d do any of the mid-noughties breakthrough brigade prouder than many of them can still conceive.
FrantikMag.com (4 out of 5)
One thing that really caught my ears about this record is that it sounds like it was real fun recording it. It’s got fun written all over it! The band also has a penchant of making good use of their arrangements and stuffing a sufficient amount of musicality in 3-minute songs.
Gigawave – Long-time friend to What’s the Word, Mahsa, wrote a track-by-track review of Barbara at her site. I’m not even going to do the whole snippet thing here ‘cuz you should read the whole thing.
Gigwise (3 out of 5)
It would have been a real treat for the WAS guys to dip their toes into unknown waters like they did with unexpected single ‘Spoken For’ from their second album. It’s just a little uninspiring overall.
With half of the ten new songs on offer coming in at under 3 minutes, ‘Barbara’ is short and to the point, which given the Scientists flair for witty one liners, was the intention all along.
Murray still croons about his usual topics—girls, drinking, going out… and pretty much just being a badass
On a clear night, when you’re sitting on the deck, drinking, making summertime memories that will be retold on countless boozy nights in the future, Barbara will have been the album that was blaring from the speakers
The Guardian (2 out of 5)
We Are Scientists know how to create instantly catchy tunes, unfortunately they’ve yet to master making them stick in the memory bank.
Thankfully, with Barbara that isn’t the case: instead there are 10 spiky little modern rock songs which recall that phase when Franz Ferdinand threatened to be good. Pittsburgh in particular is a treat: a gorgeously downbeat track with lovely part-harmonies in its chorus, like early Futureheads frozen in time.
Hornesy and Crouch End Journal (3 out of 5)
There aren’t any chart belters as on previous LPs, but there’s a hefty, simmering stock of post-punk guitar pop that’s neither too clever for its own good nor full of jokes about farts and vomit.
It’s a cracking return, too, brimming with appealing melodies, great pop hooks, fizzing choruses and that die-hard sensibility to keep things fun and simple.
Indiestyle.be (3.5 out of 5)
The review is in Dutch.
In One Ear (4 out of 5)
You won’t find a track on this album that you’ll dislike. Really the only problem you will find is that these songs have matured so much since the band’s previous album that old fans might be a little shell-shocked.
Just Press Play (8.0 out of 10)
Just about every song on Barbara sticks with you, Murray’s ranging vocals just seem to have an addictively contagious quality about them.
The more melodic tracks on the album take the band to a more grown up feel with tracks such as “Pittsburgh” and “Foreign Kicks” bringing the pace back down a bit, before our senses are assaulted again (but only in the best possible way), with “You Should Learn”.
There’s nothing wrong with it, as such, but there’s little to really commend it either: their sound, predominantly conventional structures of simple riffs and swelling choruses, has developed little since 2008’s Brain Thrust Mastery, and there’s certainly nothing as interesting as that album’s stark drum-machine opener Ghouls.
When not playing music however, they’re hugely entertaining and endearing, but ‘Barbara’ fails to find their much celebrated sparkly-eyed japery.
Later, Murray and Cain prove their rock mettle, festooning “Nice Guys” and “Jack & Ginger” with melodies Jimmy Eat World never got around to writing. These and other styles coalesce into a slick, seamless, bubblegum disco-rock hybrid.
Rules Don’t Stop is a rousing, naughty-boy riposte to the clunking rebellious posturing of Rage Against The Machine. Break It Up simply enjoys being a good-old post-punk disco strut.
The Music Fix (6 out of 10)
It’s not that Barbara is bad, but given its short running time and refusal to branch out of the norm for the majority of that running time, it feels too much like a random collection of songs and too slight to be a full album.
Music Review Podcast(4 stars)
The album’s zenith is surely ace drinking paean Jack & Ginger. Aside from the verses of scuffed guitars and the cute kids TV show synth melody, there’s a chunk of Elvis Costello regret in the chorus as Murray intones: “No matter what I do, its way too late too late for self-control”.
NME (8 out of 10)
This is not a case of what We Are Scientists have done wrong on this album, because there is nothing that you can point to as a particular problem. Rather it’s what is missing that leaves this album as unspectacular piece, but this is just as just as difficult to adequately pinpoint.
Pitchfork (TWO MONTHS LATER!) (3.8 rating)
Barbara is almost entirely about one thing and written almost entirely the same way. People in We Are Scientists songs get drunk, try to get laid, and know that the former can preclude the latter and serve as a remedy when these two goals don’t align. And it’s all so self-effacing that they never come off as skeevy or misanthropic.
Next up is the above-referenced “Nice Guys,” the Scientists’ first British single from this disc. Honestly, I can’t say enough good things about this song; my love for it grows with each spin. It’s upbeat, dance-y, high-energy; it’s made me a believer. If there’s still a plain old “indie rock” category, “Jack & Ginger” would fit neatly into it. The “whoa-oh-oh-oh”s are a catchy touch, making the song ripe for singalongs.
PopMatters (7 out of 10)
The songs have much more sonic variety this time around, too, from the atmospheric power ballad “Pittsburgh” to the pure power-pop of “Nice Guys” to the bouncy synth-pop track “You Should Learn”. And after all the synthesizer last time out, We Are Scientists deploy the keyboards much more judiciously on this record.
On this outing, the band have eschewed the fanciful synths from Brain Thrust Mastery in favor of the formula that made them indie cult favorites with their first major album With Love and Squalor.
Review Rinse Repeat (3 1/2 out of 5)
Barbara is the most con sis tent album the band has released, and it can only get bet ter from here.
Revolt (3 stars)
On this album, the band combines good-time party lyrics, tried and true dance pop and layered melody to make something that both shows a band that likes to have fun, but has also grown up a little.
If they had cut “Nice Guys,“ the album would be better for it. “Jack and Ginger” has an interesting melody but still gets washed away with similarities to many other songs.
This review is in Dutch (6 out of 10)
Sputnik Music (3.0)
In fact, there’s not a single song here that latches onto you the way their previous singles did, a deal breaker if there ever was one for a band that has long struggled to keep the interest up over the course of an entire album.
Stars are Underground (8 out of 10 stars)
The review is in French.
Sucking Lemons (7.5 out of 10)
Each track displays the talent these guys have for producing quality rock/pop tracks; riffs and vocal lines that stay in your head after listening, a diverse collection rather than uniform sounding songs and most of all they remain catchy without being tasteless.
They Will Rock You (3 out of 5)
While Barbara doesn’t thrill me, it’s got pretty solid vocals and crisp, clean beats. I think there’s a ton of opportunity for growth on this pretty solid base, but it just needs more oomph.
This is Fake DIY (8 out of 10)
At thirty-one minutes long, there’s very little elbow room contained here. Then again, that’s probably the best thing about it.
Venuszine (5 stars)
Barbara doesn’t take any creative risks. It is so cautious, in fact, that its songs sound instantly familiar—a sure sign of musical success. “Pittburgh” swells with big harmonies, chiming guitar riffs, and thundering beats.
And other reviews I haven’t found yet might be here on Metacritic.