The opening line of 'Ghouls' "We all recognize, that I'm the problem here." might be the band's way of telling us something. The American three piece (soon to be a two piece if the rumors of drummer and backing vocalist Michael Tapper leaving the band have any merit) are back with another, as they put it, album full of "rock music of the thoughtful, sometimes epic, often loud, vaguely danceable, implicitly humanist variety". They can say whatever they like about the album but it doesn't change the fact that it should lose 6 of the tracks and become an EP.
After the promising first couple of songs the album dives into drivel that doesn't sound any different to the dozens of "emo/punk/indie" bands that get pushed out by record company's trying to cash in on a sound that either worked for the band once or worked for another band and the record executive said "Hey, Let's do what they did!". 'Brain Thrust Mastery' was really a let down since I was a fan of their first major label release 'With Love and Squalor'. I will give the guys that they have skills and they know how to put out an album for people that love cheesy pop and pine for the days when Duran Duran were on the airwaves (I swear 'Lethal Enforcer' is a cover!). And that still doesn't mean I have to like it...Simon Le Bon and John Taylor did it better. The few moments in the album where I thought to myself " I like this." were not because I was enjoying the musical "mastery" of 'We Are Scientists' (see what I did there?). It was because the songs all make me think of other bands. Bands that did what 'We Are Scientists' are trying to do but did it better. If I want a 'James' or 'Morrissey-esque' track, I will listen to 'James' or 'Morrissey'...and I do.
'Brain Thrust Mastery' is not a bad album, it just isn't a good one either. We Are Scientists may have had more practice and a bigger studio budget but they fail to match the success of their first album and if they plan on making it past a third album they should think about making music that sets them apart from the pack instead of trying to channel hit makers of the past.
5 out of 10