American rock band We Are Scientists debuted in the early aughts with the angular post-punk edge of With Love and Squalor, later evolving to incorporate polished synths and expanded atmospherics on efforts like Helter Seltzer and Megaplex. Although modestly popular in America, the band was a hit in the U.K., where its sound -- part post-punk revival and part indie rock with a touch of '80s synth pop -- drew parallels to contemporaries like Editors, Franz Ferdinand, Interpol, and the Killers.
Formed on the West Coast by three California-based college students, We Are Scientists officially took flight after frontman Keith Murray, bass player Chris Cain, and drummer Michael Tapper (who replaced founding drummer/vocalist Scott Lamb) relocated to Brooklyn and began building a small but devoted following. After releasing three EPs and one independent album -- Safety, Fun, and Learning (In That Order) -- the group signed with Virgin Records and released its major-label debut, With Love and Squalor, in early 2006. The effort peaked at ten on the Billboard Heatseekers chart and eventually was certified gold in the U.K.
In 2008, We Are Scientists -- reduced to a duo comprising Cain and Murray after Tapper parted ways with the group -- put out its second full-length album, Brain Thrust Mastery. Produced by Ariel Rechtshaid, the set included the singles "After Hours" and "Chick Lit." As before, the record found popularity in the U.K., where it debuted at number 11 on the albums chart. The band toured heavily in support, playing a number of European festivals and opening shows in America for Kings of Leon. As We Are Scientists prepared to record a third album, former Razorlight drummer Andy Burrows joined the lineup, and the revised band unveiled itself with the release of 2010's Barbara. That year, founding members Cain and Murray also appeared in their own series of comedy shorts, Steve Wants His Money, which aired on the Internet and ran in segments on MTV.
In late 2012, the band entered the studio in New York with producer Chris Coady (Beach House, Gang Gang Dance, Blonde Redhead) to record sessions for its fourth record. Burrows relocated to the city from England while he worked with Murray and Cain to write and record tracks for the album. Titled TV en Français, it arrived in early 2014 on 100%/Dine Alone Records and featured appearances by Rose Elinor Dougall (Mark Ronson) and Tim Wheeler (Ash).
In 2016, We Are Scientists returned with their fifth studio album, Helter Seltzer, produced by Max Hart (of Katy Perry's band). The effort charted in the Top 50 of the U.K. and Scottish charts. They returned in 2018 with their sixth effort, the polished Megaplex, also produced by Hart. Megaplex featured the singles "Heart Is a Weapon," "Not Another Word," and "Your Light Has Changed."
James Christopher Monger