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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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on June 16, 2010
This time around the boys from Brooklyn come out with a masterful album, after the off-kilter Brain Thrust Mastery. Barbara combines the catchy punk-pop of With Love and Squalor with the pop 80's style they went for in their second album. Along for the ride is new drummer (and former Razorlight member) Andy Burrows. I'm not sure if the inclusion of Burrows made the difference between the sophomore album and Barbara, but if it was then he's a welcomed addition to the former duo of Keith Murray and Chris Cain.

Barbara is a great album for those that like dance-rock. The album kicks off with Rules Don't Stop. This song really sets the tempo for the rest of the album. It's a catchy two minute song that really gives you a nugget of what's to come after it. Everything after that comes into step and you start to notice a great string of strong songs one after another.

The strongest of the bunch in my opinion are Central AC, Rules Don't Stop and Break It Up. Although, to be honest this is one of the few albums out there where you can listen to the whole list without a complaint. We Are Scientists have a good mix of tempos, songs like Ambition and Pittsburgh bring down the rhythm, but keep that calm and cool feeling of the album.

Give strong credit to the production as well, as this seems to be the cleanest sounding album that they've produced so far. Gone are the scratchy, garage band demo-like recordings of Brain Thrust Mastery, and in come more clean, crisp guitars and vocals. Which really add sparkle to some of the songs, and normally I'd be abhorrent to some of that sparkly, bubbly pop that sometimes corrupts songs of this nature, but here it's just fits. They found that right balance of pop and rock.

In all, Barbara is probably the best album so far from We Are Scientists, and after (in my opinion) the let down of Brain Thrust Mastery, it's good to see that We Are Scientists have come out for the better in this third outing. They have crafted a true gem of an album, one that you'll find hard not to nod your head to the tunes you'll find here.

If you like the Strokes, Bloc Party (at least their first album, Silent Alarm) and The Cribs, then you'll definitely appreciate and love Barbara.

Must buy.
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on August 19, 2010
I really wanted to like this album. After all, I loved "Love & Squalor" and "Brain Thrust Mastery" (with the latter being my #2 listened album of all time!). However, I'm sad to say that "Barbara" is nothing at all like BTM and plays mostly like a pale, weak version of "Love". Which is to say, a real shame. It lacks the punchiness of the first album and the melodies of the second. I'm not sure exactly what these guys were going for on this album, but it's rare for me not to like even one track on an album by someone who I really love, but that's the case here.

The album meanders from song to song without any real sense of direction, and does not keep your attention. Forget melodies, the songs are bland and forgettable. The instant "you-are-there" immediacy of "Love" is gone, nowhere to be found on this album. Many have knocked "BTM" for being too "pop", but at least it was a consistent, solid album that was fun to listen to and had a variety of moods; the songs shifted easily from a rowdy late-night ode to closing time at bars to the sunny last track. I find very little to enjoy here on this album, though, and it's a real shame. There's no standout track and all the songs sounds basically alike. In all, a real letdown.
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on May 10, 2011
A little bit 'o' mixed feelings from me on this one. Yeah Brain Thrust Mastery is still my favorite thus far so I was excited to see another album by these guys. They had an original sound with their sophomore album... that's why I was at first confused, feeling that they went to their With Love and Squalor groove on their latest. Don't get me wrong, Barbara is still a fairly solid album with nuances of BOTH albums (but mostly WLS). You have to decide what you really want from this album: WLS or BTM? With Love and Sorrow sounded like they were still finding their individuality and deciding how much of Franz Ferdinand and the Killers they wanted to channel in their own work. To me, Brain Thrust Mastery channeled a lot of nihilistic feelings, modern synthiness, retro 80's, and just a little bit of that "crooning white boy from the sixties" sound. That's what made BTM unusual. I still love these guys and I hope they keep experimenting and mastering their art.

Interesting to note: From the look of the other reviews here, it's boiling down to a tug'o'war between the With Love and Squalor Fans and the Brain Thrust Mastery Fans. But the bottom line is that the album is still worth buying if you like the band overall, which I do. BWAH!
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on July 30, 2011
Take a fun band, add too much production, and you get a disappointing mix. Too much vocal treatments. Too smooth guitars. No edge. I loved the cat album. This one is to be ignored. Would probably sound great live though!
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on June 17, 2010
This is We Are Scientists' best album yet.

It simply is an amazing album.
The album has the same sort of sound as With Love and Squalor.
It is nothing out of the ordinary, but generates an instant sense of familiarity.

If you liked With Love and Squalor, you will definitely like this album.
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on May 9, 2016
I'm a huge WAS fan and while all their albums are full of wonderfully catchy, singable songs, Barbara has topped out as my favorite! I received the vinyl as a gift and was quite delighted!
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on October 11, 2010
I'm still taking in all of what this band has to offer so I can't offer a very in-depth review, but once I heard a couple of their singles I knew I was hooked. Very talented musicians with great hooks, and some of the only pop music that is tolerable these days. No cheesy lyrics, the drumming is intricate, the singer actually has a range with which to sing, and the guitar work always makes you want to get up and dance. Definitely a band anyone should try if they're sick of the garbage plugging the airways these days, but still want something modern to stay in touch with. I prefer BTM and WLAS overall to Barbara, but this CD is still an extremely solid work from a great group of guys.
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on December 15, 2010
I like this album a lot but it is not my favorite it if this is your first album by them you might want to try with love and squalor first. This is still an excellent and if you are on the fence about it you should go ahead and buy it because it is worth your time and money.
With Love & Squalor
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on January 8, 2011
just watched nick and norah's infinite playlist...thought i heard WAS. Checked. I'm right.

glad they are still playing, making great music, insanely good harmonies

my band opened for WAS at Chatham University in Pittsburgh way back when....and they have a song named for our fair city on this release. no idea what it's all about...but glad i saw them in that basement at Chatham so many years ago. babe the blue ox. fake brain. so many great bands from brooklyn. thank you brooklyn!
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