For the Mathematics
The New Science


3.0
good

Review

by Nick Greer EMERITUS
June 28th, 2006 | 21 replies


Release Date: | Tracklist


For the Mathematics - The New Science

If the combination of the band name and the album title is any indication, one would assume this band to be incredibly pretentious and self-conscious. On the contrary though, For the Mathematics' album The New Science, isn't anything that over the top or ground breaking. It's new only in the sense that the songs aren't covers, because everything found on this album can be located in numerous earlier (and better) bands. Overall, their sound is that of an equal mix of At the Drive-In, Tera Melos, and Franz Ferdinand, and the end result is actually fairly diluted compared to all of those bands' styles. It's difficult to explain without showing exactly where their riffs, fills, etc. come from exactly, so forgive the massive namedropping I'm about to use in order to explain the weird mix that is For the Mathematics.

Firstly, and probably most apparent, the guitars. What we have here is a mix of Hot Cross, Glassjaw, The Fall of Troy and all other riff favoring post-hardcore bands. Every track is covered with riffs that use a lot of pull-offs, hammers, and slides in quick repetition to make accelerated, catchy riffs that are the ear candy of the pieces. However, these riffs aren't as impressive as those of say Hot Cross or Glassjaw, so they depend on other guitar quirks to keep them afloat. They are buttressed by an accompaniment of rather cool, jazzy chords. There are a lot of dominant seventh and sharp 9 sounds that are played quickly and aggressively, which is an interesting dynamic, especially against the more diatonic and catchy riffing. However, this technique is not as original or executed as well as the same techniques found in Tera Melos' or The Mars Volta's music. These feel like the B-list version of the very same awesome premise of having catchy diatonicism against aggressive jazziness. Other bands I feel that are ripped off are Minus the Bear, No Knife, and Owls, for their similar use of catchy, angular riffing in order to propel their songs. The dissonant guitar solos of The Mars Volta also find their way into moments of the album (see Unter Ihrem Sitz).

Secondly, and probably the most impressive, the rhythm section. The bass sounds a lot like that of bands like Frodus, No Knife, Navies, and Fugazi. There's a huge DC sound in the distortion and also the sharp attack and release that gives a pumping sensation to the way the bass is played. It sounds as if it's definitely played with a pick as to get harsher more aggressive sounds. This sound is executed pretty well, and would feel a little banal if were for the awesome drumming. The drums sound a lot like those of Hella, Lightning Bolt, and The Mars Volta. They explode all over the place in very chaotic and energetic ways at absolutely crucial parts of this album, to make the crescendos and intense moments grind really hard, but with a fun, dancy beat. For example, the intro to "Deportation and Return" has a beat I have never heard and pumps up the listener with its weird jutting flow. The drums just complement the bass really well too. The distorted DC tone against, the weird dancy aggressiveness of the drums yields a really cool pounding feel to the songs, which really sets this band apart from all the others it imitates.

Thirdly, and most woefully, are the vocals and production. The reason I lump them together like that is because the vocals are defined by their effects. The whole CD has the compressed, distorted sound of the now incredibly popular style of bands like The Strokes and Franz Ferdinand. And while the actual method of singing sounds more like the erratic insanity of Glassjaw or The Mars Volta's vocals, it ends up sounding like one of those dancy indie bands. The combination of the poor production and the cool vocal aesthetic combine to make something akin to the vocals of Head Automatica: good singer, unfortunate production. The production overall, not just on the vocals, also suffers. I feel like this band drops too many effects around this album. I think they'd benefit from dropping the "new science" sound, and using tones that are grittier. I like the grainy feel of the bass, but the drumming and guitars are way too echoey and phased out. The vocals, which seem attempt that grainier sound, end up feeling more indie than they do old school punk, which is really just me nitpicking, so I'll let it slide. This is a sound we've all heard before, and it's not magically good now that a really capable band has attempted it. It still feels unfortunately stale and overdone.

I guess I've ripped into this CD for its regurgitation of popular songwriting devices a lot, but at least the songs are really fun. I feel like that while they haven't achieved that new science they hinted at with their title, they at least have produced good, solid songs that are good listens for fans of bands like At the Drive-In and No Knife that are broken up or haven't produced new material in a long time. It's too bad that these songs don't stand the test of time and aren't particularly memorable in the context of all the other bands they rip off. I find myself listening to this album every 6 months or so, then feeling contented, and then promptly forgetting about it. Maybe on any forthcoming albums they can tweak their style around and not wear their influences so thinly on their sleeves.



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user ratings (9)
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3.3
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Comments:Add a Comment 
FlawedPerfection
Emeritus
June 28th 2006


2806 Comments


Never heard of these guys, but it sounds like I wouldn't like them, seeing as I hate the Strokes vocal style or that bass style. The only thing I would like is the jazzy chords.

DFelon204409
Emeritus
June 28th 2006


3995 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Maybe. You never know. It's impressive musicianship at the very least.

morrissey
Moderator
June 28th 2006


1688 Comments


These guys are from my hometown, it's crazy seeing people I used to play shows with make it big.

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
June 28th 2006


16089 Comments


Those are some rathe strange reccomendations to have together. I might have to check this out.

pixiesfanyo
June 28th 2006


1223 Comments


^ No they aren't.

This review could basically just say WE THINK AT THE DRIVE-IN ARE COOL.

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
June 28th 2006


16089 Comments


oh I'm sorry you don't agree with my thought process.
I listened to The New Science, and it was alright, but wasn't anything special. The vocals were a let down after the comparisons you had made.

DFelon204409
Emeritus
June 28th 2006


3995 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Well, I also mentined they were a let down in the review.

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
June 28th 2006


16089 Comments


No, I actually disliked the vocals themselves. I tried to look past the production, which really wasn't as bad as you made it out to be.

pixiesfanyo
June 28th 2006


1223 Comments


I'm glad you can suddenly know how you feel on an album after one listen. How about you take some time and acutally listen to the shit instead of making quick judgements, unlike Nick who I'm sure at least listened to the album five or so times before posting this shit.

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
June 28th 2006


16089 Comments


I was unfortunately under the assumption that I wasn't writing a review for the album, and instead just making one simple assertion based off of one song I heard. Sorry you have such a problem with everything I post though.

pixiesfanyo
June 28th 2006


1223 Comments


Maybe it's just the fact that everywhere I go I have to see one of your posts and how annoying and useless they all are.

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
June 28th 2006


16089 Comments


How unfortunate that you're just doing the same in this thread.

DFelon204409
Emeritus
June 28th 2006


3995 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Who the hell is Iluvatar!?!?!?!?!?!?!!?!?

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
June 28th 2006


17920 Comments


im an iluvatar fanboy. he's teh sheeyitz yo.

awesome review. /votes

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
June 29th 2006


16089 Comments


The kid who smells the footballs teams towels after the big game =/

btw I'm not very proud of my um..."fanbase"...This Message Edited On 06.28.06

santi3hg
June 29th 2006


440 Comments


This is ok, sounds like a direct rip off of At the Drive-In. Or Mars Volta, whichever you wanna go with. But they are ok.

thescort
April 9th 2007


2 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Can you explain why the production is so poor overall and as you say specifically on the vocals? What technical flaws are there?

DFelon204409
Emeritus
April 10th 2007


3995 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

It's in the review. I don't know how much more explicit I could be.

[quote=review]Thirdly, and most woefully, are the vocals and production. The reason I lump them together like that is because the vocals are defined by their effects. The whole CD has the compressed, distorted sound of the now incredibly popular style of bands like The Strokes and Franz Ferdinand. And while the actual method of singing sounds more like the erratic insanity of Glassjaw or The Mars Volta's vocals, it ends up sounding like one of those dancy indie bands. The combination of the poor production and the cool vocal aesthetic combine to make something akin to the vocals of Head Automatica: good singer, unfortunate production. The production overall, not just on the vocals, also suffers. I feel like this band drops too many effects around this album. I think they'd benefit from dropping the "new science" sound, and using tones that are grittier. I like the grainy feel of the bass, but the drumming and guitars are way too echoey and phased out. The vocals, which seem attempt that grainier sound, end up feeling more indie than they do old school punk, which is really just me nitpicking, so I'll let it slide. This is a sound we've all heard before, and it's not magically good now that a really capable band has attempted it. It still feels unfortunately stale and overdone.[/quote]

trustxdialect
April 10th 2007


1502 Comments


Obviously he was too bothered by your unjust rating that he couldn't fathom seeking out any actual reasoning.

I kind of want to check this out now. Would I be better off not?

DFelon204409
Emeritus
April 10th 2007


3995 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

For a better version of this band get Million Dead's A Song to Ruin. For something I'm just going to recommend knowing you, get Grails' Red Light.



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