Trio-turned-duo We Are Scientists move in a slightly glossier direction for their third full-length, Brain Thrust Mastery, adding a slick pop sheen to their post-punk sound. There are few tracks here that approach the hard-edged pop splendor of “It’s a Hit,” “Textbook,” or their minor hit “Nobody Move, Nobody Gets Hurt,” though “Lethal Enforcer” is notable for being as blatantly ‘80s new wave as the band has ever come, and for sporting a self-referential lyric that serves as the impetus for the entire album: “Love’s a classic ‘cause it always works.” Aside from the lead single “After Hours,” which attempts—and fails—to turn staying out all night and drinking into something deeper than just staying out all night and drinking, Brain Thrust Mastery eschews the scenester party-and-sex themes of the band’s sorta-breakthrough With Love and Squalor for more grown-up subject matter. Opening track, “Ghouls,” sets the album’s tone with the put-on self-deprecation of its repeated refrain, “We all recognize that I’m the problem here.” Ironically, head scientist Keith Murray dismisses hard evidence and natural inclinations by asking the object of his haphazard affection to have a little blind faith on “Let’s See It.” He goes on to lament the promises he made to her on “Impatience,” then shamelessly vows not to make anymore on “Tonight,” and ultimately comes off like a pompous ass on “Spoken For,” all of which serves as evidence for only one conclusion: Murray probably makes a really shitty boyfriend.
- Slant is reaching more readers than ever before, but advertising revenue across the Internet is falling fast, hitting independently owned and operated publications like ours the hardest. We’ve watched many of our fellow media sites fall by the way side in recent years, but we’re determined to stick around.
We’ve never asked our readers for financial support before, and we’re committed to keeping our content free and accessible—meaning no paywalls or subscription fees. If you like what we do, however, please consider becoming a Slant patron.
You can also make a one-time donation via PayPal: