The end of 2013 saw members of French punk bands Uncommonmenfrommars and No Guts No Glory come together to create new indie-punk hybrid Not Scientists. After a couple of EPs and some seriously extensive touring, Not Scientists are finally set to release their debut full-length album, Destroy To Rebuild.
Although described as an indie-punk band, Not Scientists tend to jump from one to the other rather than create a smooth blend of both. For example, the album opener has an alt-rock intro with melodies of Jimmy Eat World (but on a slightly more aggressive scale than the soft emo-rockers). The quirky vocals of ‘I’m Brain Washing You’, the upbeat guitar of ‘Just Break Me’ and the cool harmonies of ‘Broken Pieces’ keep the indie feel flowing and, while you can hear that punk edge, it remains buried just beneath the surface, screaming to break out but not quite making it. So far, Destroy To Rebuild fulfils its indie quota, but lacks somewhat on the punk side of things…
That is, until the ballsy punk rock shouts of ‘These Heads Have No Faces’ kick in. It’s the first taste of rebellion and angst we hear from Not Scientists, and they’re not half bad at it. Once they’ve started, it seems hard to stop them – ‘Disconnect the Dots’ has a stilted, almost discordant riff that has punk rock written all over it, while the gutsy vocals continue in ‘Over and Out’. After we see both sides of this band, songs like ‘Tomorrow’s Another Day’ start to finally blur the lines between punk and indie, with vocals that are somewhere between Arctic Monkeys (but not quite so British) and The Bronx (but not quite so raw), while their instrumental sound tips it hat to more melodic punk bands such as The Clash.
Destroy To Rebuild has some serious strong points – it’s got a fair few catchy choruses, a whole load of fun melodies and upbeat riffs, but just enough edge to be a tad dangerous – but it still feels like something is missing. The fact is, Not Scientists need to be bold enough to really push their limits and break a few boundaries to get the best from their unique mesh of sounds.