“Return the Favor” is We Are Scientists’ excellent new track taken from their brand spanking new Business Casual EP. Listening to this new creative experiment, one soon senses something very different about the band, especially if, like this reviewer, one has spent a significant portion of their time over the last week or so listening to some of their older material, especially “Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt” and other music from their first effort With Love and Squalor.
On “Return the Favor”, gone are the rough-around-the edges-production of their first effort, as well as the relatively upbeat guitar riffs and the pop hooks which helped them make a name for themselves. In its place are bleeding, but not cutting or abrasive, guitars; a kind of catchiness in the form of tuneful, if slow, vocal melodies; bass riffs that are slower than usual and seem to chug along rather than bounce and a laying on of keys at the end. The tune is quite similar to the track “Pittsburgh” from their 2010 album Barbara, while also basically sounding somewhat like a more polished version of Ataxia. One thing “Return the Favor” does have in common with their better known compositions like, for example, “The Great Escape”, is a gritty guitar solo, with the brooding darkness and a sense of building tension achieved through instrumental motifs, reminiscent of the finest moments in trip-hop, adding a new dimension to the We Are Scientists sound. The group, arguably indie royalty, are back in business bringing to the table something that even some casual fans may love.