You don’t often here of punk from France. Maybe France isn’t a very punk place. Maybe the British as a people aren’t as open to French punk as we are American punk or Scandinavian metal. Maybe we just haven’t noticed we’ve been listening to French punk for years. Not Scientists are a punk band from France, and had they not started their press release with this titbit of information, I would have been none the wiser. Destroy to Rebuild is their first album and it showcases a band with plenty of potential, and a few excellent tunes to back it up.
The LP begins with ‘Window’, which slowly builds with layer upon layer of distorted, reverb drenched guitars before a huge drum fill brings the whole band in. It has a summery feel and catchy vocal refrains. The whole thing is punctuated with woah-oh’s and comes across like a lo-fi Foo Fighters. Lo-Fighters maybe?
Next up is ‘I’m Brain Washing You’ which firstly, has a great title, and secondly sounds like a fantastic, previously unheard Against Me! jam. It is a pretty standard pop-punk tune but what really lifts it is the weaving, melodic guitar solo.
This is an album which is not afraid to where it’s influences readily upon its sleeve. There are touches of Bad Religion in ‘Broken Pieces’, Rise Against-style vocals in ‘These Heads Have No Faces’ and the aforementioned Against Me! in the album highlight ‘Disconnect The Dots’. The album’s closing salvo, ‘Barricade’, comes down somewhere between At The Drive-In and Blink 182, which is a weird crossover you didn’t know you wanted to hear, but it works and it is impressive.
Overall, Destroy to Rebuild contains some really cool moments but some of the tunes are a little too carbon-copy-close to this band’s inspirations to really stand up on their own. When Not Scientists do something a little bit out of the ordinary, as on the reggae-flavoured ‘Wait’, it all comes together, and this band show they can be phenomenal. What Destroy to Rebuild offers is a whistle-stop tour of modern punk without a convincing identity of its own. There are glimpses of something interesting here though, and this is a band who will only get better.
3 out of 5 high fives!