Brooklyn's We Are Scientists received national recognition during the downward slope of the art-rock trend (they formed in 2000, but their pre-With Love and Squalor
albums were self-released), and could therefore be accused of being derivative, or even an agent of the evil corporate music business's beating to death of any trend that shows a spark of initiative. Those points may well be true; "Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt", the album's first single, is reportedly getting heavy play on MTV and Radio One. Before you know it, NYC's angular, dark-yet-accessible art-rock will be the province of suburban teenyboppers, and the hipsters will have to move on to something new, and it'll be all We Are Scientists' fault.
Even so, you can hardly accuse WaS of sullying the coattails on which they ride. Their songs burst with hooks, but they don't sound as if they were deliberately engineered to move units; they sound as if they were engineered to move asses, with updated disco beats and sharp guitar/bass interplay. The band is as tight as a wound spring, and although their songs fit the brooding drinkin'-too-much-and-bein'-cool mold, they reveal a whimsical sense of humor in other areas (best... album cover... ever). We Are Scientists might not quite match the creativity of their genre's trailblazers, but they still have a spark that hasn't been snuffed in the pursuit of filthy lucre.