We Are Scientists, the Brooklyn, New York based power pop troupe are set to return this coming April 22nd with their fifth album. Titled ‘Helter Seltzer’ and released via 100% Records, it is preceded by the single release of ‘Buckle’, the album’s opening track, available today for stream and download.
For this album We Are Scientists asked their ex-keyboard player Max Hart to produce. Max had just finished a three-year stint as the keyboardist for international super-mega-person Katy Perry, choosing as his final gig Ms. Perry’s performance at the 2015 Super Bowl. After a number of small producing projects squeezed in between tours, he was ready to roll up his sleeves and dive in.
Max rented a studio space in Brooklyn’s DUMBO neighbourhood, outfitting it with gear he had accumulated over a decade of obsessive internet shopping. In early March, the team got to work. At their disposal was a trove of new We Are Scientists demos as well as Max’s inside-out familiarity with hits like ‘Teenage Dream’ and ‘Firework’ and ‘Dark Horse.’ Sifting through the options, a direction emerged: they would use the tones and trickery of radio pop to add a sweet sheen to the new crop of distinctively We Are Scientists songs. Months of toil and trial and error finally brought the right balance, and the finished recordings were shipped to mixer Chris Coady at Sunset Sound in L.A. Coady has quietly emerged in recent years as one of the finest mixers of glossy indie pop, with credits that include Future Islands, Beach House, and !!!.
In ‘Helter Seltzer’ he knew he had an album that should shimmer but also bang, and he applied all of the magic and sauce at his disposal to insure it did exactly that. Finally, the music was passed through the deluxe mastering machine that are the ears of Greg Calbi (Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Noel Gallagher, Perfume Genius) to add a coat of heft and sparkle, and in January of 2016, nearly a year after construction began, the album was pronounced complete.
"We've always made overtures toward being a pop band, but we've generally had the inclination to obscure those pop leanings in grit and chaos — to screw them up with fuzzed-out tones and raucous performances," says guitarist and vocalist Keith Murray. "It's made us really think about what our musical genre is. We're not punk — we're too interested in making our songs as pretty as possible. We're not straight-up rock — our tastes our too left-of-centre. We're not indie-rock — our heads aren't far enough up our own butts. So finally, after putting as much time into thinking about it as we're apt to — about ten minutes, over beers — we decided that our genre is 'Helter Seltzer.'"
"Declaring a new genre is obviously douchey as hell, though, and impossible to deliver with a straight face," adds bassist Chris Cain, "so we did the noble thing and just made ‘Helter Seltzer’ the album title. It's especially apt for us these days, though. The songs here are more effervescent than we've ever managed to deliver, but they've still maintained a measure of that ‘Helter Skelter’ element — no matter how fizzy and refreshing the tunes are, they've always got a bit of that seamy, scuzzy, 'cult on Spahn Ranch' vibe."
"Incidentally, the album title represents a secondary bonus of proselytizing to the world about seltzer, which is woefully under-recognized outside the United States. We've polled foreign friends and associates about their awareness of seltzer, and found out that most of them thought it related either to a hangover cure or to that fusty comedic "squirt in the face" gag from classic cinema. Almost none recognized the fine pleasure of sipping on a nice, refreshing seltzer water, available everywhere in bottles and cans throughout the U.S. We therefore consider this album, as a vessel of both sweet pop tunes and seltzer outreach, to be a work of undisguised philanthropy on our part."
2. In My Head
3. Too Late
4. Hold On
5. We Need A Word
6. Want For Nothing
7. Classic Love
8. Waiting For You