We Are Scientists

Lee's Palace, Toronto ON, June 14

BY Scott TavenerPublished Jun 15, 2013

We Are Scientists are not British. In fact, they're from California, which, for an American that doesn't live in Hawaii, is about a far away from the UK that you can get. Nevertheless, their sound — a jerky, kinetic, buoyant guitar rock — owes plenty to acts like Franz Ferdinand and Arctic Monkeys. Well, sort of. The three-piece has been putting out records since 2002's Safety, Fun and Learning (In That Order), wading into post-post-punk at an ideal time. Today, their sound continues to lean on a record collection that likely has a Fall record or two. Unsurprisingly, the band has a strong British following and their Lee's gig attracted plenty of anglophiles.

Standout, "I Don't Bite," channelled Franz Ferdinand with an extra heaping of nervous energy while a solid "Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt," was played big, fast, and earnest. In that respect, We Are Scientists evoked Ted Leo, albeit without the politics. Sure, it was all pretty derivative — "Can't Lose" was a straight Arctic Monkeys rip — but singer Keith Murray and bassist Chris Cain were amiable and committed, delivering a playful and engaging set.

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