We Are Scientists—the duo of vocalist/guitarist Keith Murray and bassist/vocalist Chris Cain—are known for the oblique humor and intelligence that they bring to their music, but a question about their sharp mental acuity produces gales of laughter. “I don’t believe brains or wit are particularly helpful, or necessary, in pop music,” Murray says, still chuckling. “If we intended our appeal to be narrow and excessively insular, those qualities might be good for us, but nobody likes a smartass.” Despite this protestation, the songs on the band’s new LP, TV En Français (Dine Alone), are brimming over with wry humor and skewed insights into the state of modern romance. TV En Français was recorded with the help of producer Chris Coady (Yeah Yeah Yeahs, TV On The Radio), who helped give the album a polished, expansive sound. Cain will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our brand new feature on the band.
Cain: Matt Parker and Trey Stone are geniuses, yes. But it didn’t take Book Of Mormon to prove that. No, the writing was all over the wall way back in 1998, when Parker and Stone collaborated with director David Zucker to create BASEketball, an essential American comedy. Most of the superficialities of the film’s plot aim to skewer modern-day professional sports, in all their cynical, cash-driven putrescence. That stuff’s all a bit on the nose. The magic is in Parker and Stone’s line delivery, and in the wonderful dialog they clearly red-inked onto Zucker’s script, none of which deals with sports. Here they are fighting over a girl, one who works with sick kids at a hospital:
Stone: Oh, I’ll come, I love hospitals.
Parker: No you don’t, you love Taco Bell!
Stone: No, one time I was at this hospital, in France, and I met this great chick.
Parker: Dude, that was a hostel.
This is the stuff of life. Rent BASEketball today. And if you’re a member of the American Film Institute, use your vote to help this treasure achieve the spot it deserves in your organization’s list of the 100 Best American Comedies—somewhere in the top four, surely.