by Richard Hart
Scottish New-Wave act “We Are The Physics” touch down with their edgy, frankly out their sophomore album “You Are The Atom”. They are described as “mutant science punk-pop”. But does this equation balance?
On first listen they do appear to be a new-wave punk act. There are squalling discordant guitars, sawn off snare drums and a barking front-man who may also prove to be barking mad with some of his wacky lyrics.
Their B-movie, sci-fi appeal isn’t drip fed, its thrown down like a bucket of napalm. It’s not a caustic sound, despite the previous simile. At times the album is a bit jarring, at times it’s a bit too clever for its own good too. Some of the tracks have long, complicated names which it would difficult to make a request, let alone search for on Youtube. But We Are The Physics don’t seem to be very worried about that sort of thing.
Indeed their sound is sort of a punk shlock and awe, filled with some wild, chaotic and incredibly fast paced songs. The album clocks in at a lean forty one minutes despite packing in fourteen songs. The lyrics are fast, punchy and often a bit indistinct as they get lost in the frantic riffs and hammering guitar.
Sometimes, especially in the early tracks of the album, this Frankenstien music seems to work quite well. “Applied Robotics” is a clipped, snappy little punk song that ends with a fantastic riff. “Napoleon Loves Josephine” is a madcap, infectious punk-pop song that has clever lyrics but discordant music to give a really odd dichotomy.
The disturbingly named “Dildonics” is a nod to the searing seventies style New York punk aesthetic, grimy and dark. “Junkie Buns” borrows this a little bit but is a touch closer to ska than true punk. “Circuit Babes” also takes it down a notch but features the same high energy style that blazes across the whole album.
But as an album, this endless assault is overwhelming and tiring to listen to. It’s a big, broad high angle but a little low on artistry attack that simply hammers you with its sheer wild enthusiasm but scores very few truly incisive notes.
It does rally towards the end, “Circuit Babes” is a particularly welcome track and has a bit more art to it. The gloriously titled “Olivia Neutron Bomb” ends the album with a burst of crazed, low fi energy that also highlights the bands inventiveness as song-writers. But more often in the album, it gets lost under a deluge of notes played as fast a volume as possible.
When they slow down, you start to see that they are really quite talented. At times they come across as a sort of punkier version of “Biffy Clyro”. The “Devo” influence is truly unmistakable too and if they can match their madcap style to a bit more subtly then their third album may be able to smart bomb their way to a new audience.
As it is, their carpet bomb approach is unlikely to bring in anyone who doesn’t already love this sort of thing.