Well, this has certainly been a while in coming. I didn’t think I’d get to write the words ‘the new album from We Are the Physics [Twitter/Facebook]’ in the same sentence at any stage this year, but here we are. Coming up on four-and-a-half years since their debut, We Are the Physics are OK at Music was released, the Glaswegians have finally gotten around to releasing their second album, a collection which proves that not only are they much more than just OK at music, they’re one of the most vital bands in the UK today.
FAO people who are still mourning the demise of Dananananaykroyd: you should get on this. It’ll be right up your street. WATP are well able to pick up that torch: Your Friend, The Atom is a shouty math-rock/indie-pop tour de force, packing 14 songs into 41 minutes and making use of every single second of its running time. With Go Go Nucleo -> For Science and Applied Robotics kicking things off at a high tempo and a restless energy that is almost palpable, the quartet (3x Michael, 1x Chris) establish their intentions straight away, with a minimum of fucking around involved. Lyrics are spat out with barely a pause for breath to be heard anywhere, drums clatter, guitars shred; the whole aesthetic is one of infectious enthusiasm.
Current single Napoleon Loves Josephine is a brilliant example of what the band do best, mixing incisive melodies with a cutting lyric about people who pretend to be something they’re not (‘You’ll change your name to suit yourself’), its arpeggiating guitar line winding its way around verse and chorus before reaching its peak with a bridge section that is nothing short of sensational. It says something about the standard the band are trying to uphold, however, that is only with And So Now We’re Wrestling With the Body Politic that the album really gets going, its buzzing riffs anchored to an eyebrow-raising chorus. The band then toss out There Is No Cure For the Common Cold, So Don’t Expect a Cure for Cancer (as darkly brilliant as its song title suggests) and lead single Goran Ivanisevic in quick succession (the latter sounds even better in album context) – at this point, the album is only half-over.
A lot of ground is covered in the opening 20 minutes, and their high-energy approach needs to be kept up with, but behind the well-written hooks and knowing lyrics (those which are decipherable, at least) is an album that’s surprisingly rewarding: an oxymoronic immediate grower. The album’s back half is just as impressive, packing in another formidable three-song run in Eat Something, All My Friends are JPEGs and Junkie Buns (the latter two of which are rifftastic slices of power-pop on which the band show that their four years out of the spotlight have really helped them to come into their own). In the meantime, we’ve had the abrasive math-rock of Cluedo and the short, sharp shock of Dildonics (among the hardest-hitting songs on the album). This is a record that doesn’t let up and doesn’t let go, not until the uplifting, C-major pop of Olivia Neutron Bomb – musically uplifting, at least (‘Nothing ever goes to plan because we love failing, we love falling down’) brings things to a close. This full-on approach may prove slightly too intense for some, but if you can hold on for 40 minutes, We Are the Physics will reward you with an album that’s more than merely worth the wait – it’s absolutely brilliant.
Your Friend, the Atom is released today via DIY Records.
[BUY] We Are the Physics – Your Friend, the Atom [DIY Records / Amazon]