We Are Scientists at Koko
Hailed as America’s finest indie band, West Coast trio We Are Scientists are on fire here at Koko after a night at Southampton’s Engine Rooms. They seem to occupy a larger space than the stage affords, if such a thing is possible. The backdrop behind them is the cover of their latest album, Lobes, released this January. The lights are deep blue and red; the energy offstage is electric, driven by eager banter and eager moves. There is a charm to these guys – a kind of goofy, likeable earnestness. You would definitely want to be friends with them in high school, if you could get a word in (they really do like their chats between songs). They are also very, very funny. Visually they work well together too: there’s a brotherly vibe here.
Lucky Just to Be Here opens the show, an upbeat, early 2000s feel of a song; it’s also the first from the new album. Looking around, it’s obvious that everyone here feels lucky too. Top 2005 hit Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt gets a huge roar of approval, with its irreverent lyrics, tight Muse-ish riffs and frenetic guitar solo from Keith Murray. Another early 00s band comes to mind here – Editors – though this is much less laidback. There is a mellower feel to Operator Error and Rules Don’t Stop, even if both contain the constantly active drums that are part of the band’s signature, as does Greenday-ish You’ve Lost Your Shit. Then, suddenly, we’re back to something ironically more decisive with Inaction before the decidedly quirky I Cut My Own Hair.
A change in mood seems to happen with Courage, a quieter, more serious moment with heavier bass and arpeggiation. Something feels different in the air – almost a kind of questioning. This is an introspective song, and not a long one, but perhaps the most meaningful of the night. Turn It Up, also from the synthy Lobes, takes the energy up a notch before a sultry and moody Textbook.
From the encores, Less from You is a little bit Prince, a little bit Daft Punk, and the whole place is spotlit. The genius of this band is that they can belt out songs that sound very like nostalgia – not quite late 80s, something of the early 00s, a hint of punk, teenage angst and the clear vocals of power ballads – but it’s all indisputably their own.
Photos: Virginie Viche
For further information and future events visit We Are Scientists’s website here.
Watch the video for the single Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt here: