Business Casual is We Are Scientists’ first studio release since the 2010 release of Barbara, and it is a welcome return for the New York-based indie rock band.
Formed in Berkeley, Calif. in 2000, We Are Scientists consists of Keith Murray on guitar and vocals, Chris Cain on bass guitar and Michael Tapper on drums.
In their previous works, We Are Scientists provided a relatively light rock sound with bright tones and quality instrumentation that plants their sound firmly in the realm of indie rock.
Their current repertoire contains their first album Safety, Fun, and Learning (In That Order), and subsequent albums With Love and Squalor, Brain Thrust Mastery and Barbara.
Business Casual, the recently released E.P., represents their past sound while also displaying a desire to try out other styles of music-making that were not present in their first three albums.
The five song E.P. opens up with the song “Dumb Luck,” and it is a rather odd opening. As previously mentioned, We Are Scientists is an indie rock band, so the nearly metal-esque beginning of “Dumb Luck” is an unexpected twist, though it is by no means an unwelcome one.
The opening of the song is dominated by a distorted guitar riff that sets the tone for the rest of the track, while keeping the tempo quick and the feel aggressive.
The vocals are similar to what We Are Scientists has done in the past, and the way the vocals meld with the instrumentation is all quality work, as to be expected from We Are Scientists.
The third song on Business Casual is “Good Answer,” and it is the song that feels most like the natural progression of the band’s sound. The song opens up with guitar, bass and drums playing in unison at a slower tempo with the featured instrument being the simple and clean guitar, playing a riff that plays throughout the entire song.
The tone of “Good Answer” is almost sad, with thoughtful rather than bright lyrics, and the tempo is significantly slower than “Dumb Luck.” “Good Answer” is a fine example of how We Are Scientists has excellent potential to create some quality sounds.
The final song on the album is “Take My Breath Away,” and as the title indicates, it is a cover of the song “Take My Breath Away” by the band Berlin, which was written in the mid 1980s.
The cover is not fantastic, but it is good, and it was an interesting way to wrap up an indie rock E.P. The song is performed in the style of music that We Are Scientists is known for, yet by the songs very nature of being a cover, it stands out and feels slightly out of place when compared to the previous songs.
This fact brings up the greatest problem, if it can be considered a problem, that the E.P. has. The music is good, and each song is capable of being a single; however, there is very little that holds the E.P. together.
There are five unique songs on Business Casual that do not necessarily interact with each other, and for some people, that might be enough of a reason to ignore the entire release.
Business Casual, while not We Are Scientist’s best work, is a welcome addition to their other albums, and it shows that there are more good things to come from the band in the future.
Speaking to that specifically, We Are Scientists has a full album set to come out Mar. 3, and Business Casual is a good introduction to a band that has plenty of potential.