Back in college, I had a particularly fun (narrator voice, “he’s lying”) class called Organic Chemistry Lab, in which I spent 3 hours or more every Tuesday night mixing chemicals with the goal of yielding the correct precipitate (the prized organic compound needed for a passing grade). A single error in calculation, heat level, or timing led to shame upon my family and the need to do the experiment all over again. Needless to say, despite having a degree in a scientific field, I am best served staying away from lab equipment.
Similar to my experience, French punk act Not Scientists have proven themselves to be more artist than scientist on their latest indelibly fun record, Golden Staples. At least they’re forthcoming about it. The group have expanded on their sonic palette, adding melodic punk and post-punk to their previous pop. The result is an album that is consistent in its melodic power and almost gleefully energetic. However, instead of mixing everything together in a perfectly congealed precipitate, the results on Golden Staples are a bit more inconsistent in their actual execution. Tunes like “Paper Crown” and “Perfect World” are shimmering post-punk jams, which contrast with the melodic power punk of the title track and “Just About Ready to Beg”.
Aside from a slight letdown in the record’s final moments, Golden Staples is bright, booming, and tons of fun, but it often feels like a transition record to the band’s final form. It’s certainly a step in the right direction for the French group, but you get the sense that the follow-up will reveal the mad scientist’s experiments were worthwhile, even if this record leaves me wanting just a bit more.