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We Are Scientists Helter Seltzer

(Vinyl LP)

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We Are Scientists, the Brooklyn, NY based power pop troupe are set to return in June 2016 with their fifth album Helter Seltzer. For this album We Are Scientists asked their ex-keyboard player Max Hart to produce. Max had just finished a three-year stint as the keyboardist for international super-mega-person Katy Perry, choosing as his final gig Ms. Perry's performance at the 2015 Super Bowl. After a number of small producing projects squeezed in between tours, he was ready to roll up his sleeves and dive in. 

Max rented a studio space in Brooklyn's DUMBO neighborhood, outfitting it with gear he had accumulated over a decade of obsessive internet shopping. In early March, the team got to work. At their disposal was a trove of new We Are Scientists demos as well as Max's inside-out familiarity with hits like "Teenage Dream" and "Firework" and "Dark Horse." Sifting through the options, a direction emerged: they would use the tones and trickery of radio pop to add a sweet sheen to the new crop of distinctively We Are Scientists songs. Months of toil and trial and error finally brought the right balance, and the finished recordings were shipped to mixer Chris Coady at Sunset Sound in L.A. Coady has quietly emerged in recent years as one of the finest mixers of glossy indie pop, with credits that include Future Islands, Beach House, and !!!.

In Helter Seltzer he knew he had an album that should shimmer but also bang, and he applied all of the magic and sauce at his disposal to insure it did exactly that. Finally, the music was passed through the deluxe mastering machine that are the ears of Greg Calbi (Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Noel Gallagher, Perfume Genius) to add a coat of heft and sparkle, and in January of 2016, nearly a year after construction began, the album was pronounced complete. 

"We've always made overtures toward being a pop band, but we've generally had the inclination to obscure those pop leanings in grit and chaos – to screw them up with fuzzed-out tones and raucous performances," says guitarist and vocalist Keith Murray. "It's made us really think about what our musical genre is. We're not punk – we're too interested in making our songs as pretty as possible. We're not straight-up rock – our tastes our too left-of-centre. We're not indie-rock – our heads aren't far enough up our own butts. So finally, after putting as much time into thinking about it as we're apt to – about ten minutes, over beers – we decided that our genre is 'Helter Seltzer.'"

"Declaring a new genre is obviously douchey as hell, though, and impossible to deliver with a straight face," adds bassist Chris Cain, "so we did the noble thing and just made ‘Helter Seltzer' the album title. It's especially apt for us these days, though. The songs here are more effervescent than we've ever managed to deliver, but they've still maintained a measure of that ‘Helter Skelter' element – no matter how fizzy and refreshing the tunes are, they've always got a bit of that seamy, scuzzy, 'cult on Spahn Ranch' vibe."

 

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