Album of the Week: We Are the Physics – Your Friend, The Atom
Remember We Are The Physics? No? Cast your mind back to 2007/08 – nicely pressed white shirts, skinny ties, angular indie rock and lots of onstage silliness that could, on occasion, distract from some fairly flimsy songs.
They opened one of the main stages at T in the Park and supported Aereogramme at their farewell Glasgow gig; they were Scotland’s answer to the Hives or the Futureheads, mixing showmanship and harmony, but first album We Are The Physics Are OK At Music bombed and they’ve been missing, presumed irrelevant, since.
But wait! They’re back, back, back, and guess what? This is a really, really good album. The onstage theatrics (standing stock still for several minutes bar a single kick drum being thumped was always amusing) are apparently not necessary after all, although we don’t doubt they’ll still happen – these songs speak for themselves.
At 14 tracks, Your Friend, The Atom may be stretching the point a little, but every time the frenetic bluster starts to tire, a growling curveball like There Is No Cure For The Common Cold So Don’t Expect A Cure For Cancer – slowed right down and with some nifty techno noodling – nails your attention once again.
And those songs of frenetic bluster are kept interest with frequent time changes, angry riffs and killer melodies – Goran Ivanisevic has all three, and despite being as subtle as one of the big Croat’s serves, it’s the album in a nutshell. Fellow Slav Novak Djokovic will only truly make it when he has his name chanted by a Scottish post punk four piece.
As you’d expect from a band named after one of the three key science specialisms, songs about technology (Applied Robotics, Circuit Babies) dominate, but we reckon the ace Dildonics is just a cheap attempt to slip in a knob gag, not that we’re complaining.
In the last four years Scottish music has moved on massively, but We Are the Physics absolutely deserve a second chance. Scratch the surface of the humour and there’s nifty musicianship, great riffs, thunderous drums and big choruses all over Your Friend, The Atom – a deserving album of the week!
The band (or ‘one of the Michaels’ at least) brought their brand of of humour to the usual Tidal Wave grilling…
Welcome back! How has the band evolved since we last saw you?
Hello! That’s been a running theme since the last record – people have been saying we’re back, or that we’ve reformed, or that we disappeared. We didn’t, we were still active and gigging, we just weren’t getting any press and nobody cared. They abandoned us, we didn’t abandon you! We would never leave you, we’re married to you. MARRIED! Somebody actually said to us they heard we’d reformed because they’d discovered the Higgs Boson. Somebody actually went to the trouble of inventing a reason for our reformation, despite that being more work than actually just looking at our website and seeing we were still doing stuff. That’s pretty admirable! As for evolution, our faces have evolved into older faces and our hairlines have evolved a bit further back on our heads. Apart from that, we’re still the same jerky new wave punk rock we always were before we split up and disappeared and went away. Bands always wax lyrical about their musical maturity because nobody wants to hear they’re still shite. We’re still shite.
What inspired the new album?
Lots and lots of things. Bands-wise, we were listening to a lot of Brainiac and Devo and Mocket and Plot To Blow Up The Eiffel Tower and Hives and Atari Teenage Riot and etc etc. Theme-wise, it’s kind of about ideas that seem good at the time, but turn out to be terrible in retrospect. A bit like We Are The Physics. There’s songs on there about capitalising on culture and tradition, nuclear power, the redundancy of the male genitalia, radiation poisoning, social networking, the democratisation of technology and Goran Ivanisevic.
Is your onstage ‘demeanour’ largely what we would remember?
It is – we’re still showboating and pointing at things dramatically more than actually playing songs. We’ve always tried to treat gigs like an event, we don’t like to ignore the audience. When we started out it was a period of time where bands were incredibly dull on stage, and wouldn’t even look up at the audience and we wanted to be the opposite of that. We always liked the energy of punk bands and the subtle humour in stuff like Polysics live. It’s always great to have more people turn up at the gigs, but the more there are, the less we can get away with the OTT posturing. When we used to try and get call and response from the three people in the audience, it had more of an impact. When there are people there, it seems like you’re aping U2. But if you’ve seen us before and enjoyed it, you’re likely to enjoy it again. Multiplied by forty, because we’re forty times better. At pointing.
Can we expect to see you out on the road soon?
Yes, indeed! We start a world tour of the UK on 16th October in Birmingham, 17th in Oxford and 18th in Kingston with We Were Promised Jetpacks, then we have Aberdare, Brighton and Manchester before heading back to Glasgow at the end of the month. You should come and see us because otherwise bad things will happen. Plus, we’ve already split up once, you have to come and see us before we split up again.
You can get those dates over at the band’s website. Here’s some music!