The road to becoming the enduring masters of post-punk indie has been a long one for We Are Scientists; it comes with a back story that dates back as far as 1997. The significance of that year is that it marks the year that Keith Murray (Guitar) and Chris Cain (Bass) met at Pomona College in Claremont, California. The pair bonded over music, films and comedy (the usual friend stuff) before eventually forming a band with their roommate, Scott Lamb. In the original line up, Murray played Drums and sang with Lamb taking up the Guitar initially.
After they graduated in 1999, Murray and Cain moved to Berkeley, California without Lamb. They decided on becoming a full time band as We Are Scientists (a name with a few humorous explanations for you to research) and brought Michael Tapper in on Drums as Murray switched to Guitar.
After establishing themselves as a trio, another relocation occurred with all three moving to Brooklyn, New York where they would begin a spell of self-released output. 2002 saw the release of the since-forgotten full length ‘Safety, Fun, and Learning (In That Order)’ as well as three EPs that concluded with 2004’s ‘The Wolf’s Hour’. ‘The Wolf’s Hour’ featured five songs that would eventually form a large part of their major label debut.
That major label debut, ‘With Love and Squalor’, was recorded in early 2005 and received staggered releases dates with the UK getting the album in October of that year before the US caught up in March of 2006. The release was particularly popular in the UK, going gold after just six months as the band’s profile was aided by tours with Arctic Monkeys, Editors and Hot Hot Heat. This was coupled with acclaim for their three Top 40 singles, ‘Nobody Move Nobody Get Hurt’, ‘The Great Escape’ and ‘It’s A Hit’.
The band followed up ‘With Love and Squalor’ with ‘Brain Thrust Mastery’ in March 2008. The album expanded beyond the Guitar-focussed sound of their previous effort and was well received. ‘Brain Thrust Mastery’ narrowly missed out on a UK Top 10 spot, charting at 11 whilst also providing the band with their biggest single in ‘After Hours’. There was one casualty over the course of the album cycle though; the band’s long-time drummer Michael Tapper quit the band soon after recording was complete.
Tapper wouldn’t be officially replaced until 2009 when former Razorlight drummer, Andy Burrows was announced to be joining after helping record 2010’s ‘Barbara’. The trio self-released their third album through their own Master Swan record label and had a few popular singles but ultimately struggled to capture the attention of the previous releases in terms of sales.
Burrows was still on hand to help Murray and Cain record ‘Barbara’s follow up in 2012 but, due to the band parting ways with their management after that release, they spent most of 2013 taking the completed album to various record labels to get ‘TV en Français’ released. Eventually they teamed up with 100% Records and released the ‘Business Casual’ EP in October 2013 ahead of the full length’s release in March 2014. The delay in getting ‘TV en Français’ meant that Burrows was largely unavailable to help promote the album and led to his departure.
Since then, Murray and Cain have officially carried on as a duo, enlisting Keith Carne to help out on Drum duties. They spent 2015 recording their upcoming fifth album, ‘Helter Seltzer’, which is due for release on April 22nd via 100% Records.
This We Are Scientists article was written by Simon Carline, a GIGsoup contributor