Math and Physics Club
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Math and Physics Club

Seattle, Washington, United States | INDIE

Seattle, Washington, United States | INDIE
Band Pop


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"Math and Physics Club - I Shouldn't Look As Good As I Do"

{9.5} Ethan, Charles, and James started playing together in Seattle in 2004, after the latter two had grown up in and inspired by the Olympia scene, tumbling about the spreading evergreen branches and primitivist punk pine cones from the shakin' Beat Happening family tree, and its simple, playful underground pop aesthetic. M&PC also shared love for bands like Seattle's power pop princes The Posies and UK positive energy-priests The Housemartins. This led to kinship with The Lucksmiths from Australia, and KEXP DJ John Richards getting excited about them, and a signing to the irrepressible Matinee label. Adding drummer Kevin and violinist Saundrah to their sound had helped them make a candy store of EPs filled with songs shimmering autumn sunshine, effervescent anthems with a hint of sadness.

After four years, Math and Physics Club release its long-awaited latest album, I Shouldn't Look As Good As I Do. The band has wondered if people are just polite in Seattle about bands, but a few listens of the short ten tracks on their second full length unveils a band that has absorbed their influences and come up with songs as huggable as anything Camera Obscura has ever recorded. If you doubt the strength of the rating with this review, bear in mind that I am far from an expert in "twee." That genre term means nothing to me here; these songs pulse and bounce and zip along as magically as if I hadn't grown up with The People Who Grinned Themselves To Death and Hatful of Hollow. I will be playing all ten tracks here over and over as much as I ever listened to Jonathan Sings! Check back with me in six months and my iPod "Most Played" list will prove it.

"Jimmy Had A Polaroid" opens the album in a handclap-worthy song about cameras, parks, stacks of 45s, and a girl moving away, as compelling as a free afternoon with the person you adore most together "until we fell to the ground / and watched the clouds spin around." The excuse of their absence is just "something that we say." "We Make A Pair" is a lilting ode to sharing tea and coffee with a short haired partner and to getting "into trouble easily ... and stick together to the bitter end." On tracks like "Trying To Say I Love You" the pining could be as real as an early Beatles tune, as the gentle shimmy may be from any pure pop gem created in Scotland or Southern California or New Zealand at any time of fecund creative growth.

These first three songs are all brilliant little singles about love and togetherness and love and loss. Then things start to get more lyrically detailed and urgent, as the Aussie C&W shaggy dog tale of "Everybody Loves A Showtune" comes along as wry as anything the Triffids, or a less grim book-end to "Frankly, Mr. Shankly." While "I'll Tell You Anything" is perfectly timeless and caffeine-inspired early evening come on, the extremely catchy "Love Or Loneliness" takes a darker approach about attraction. "Will You Still Love Me?" asks about the decay of body and relationship and having to "get our kicks from small blue pills."

For me, the album ends on its two strongest anthems, the musically loping, and lyrically terse poseur-challenge "The Internationale" ("The parties where you go to see and be seen ... but what do they really think? I don't care who you just kissed and that you're always on the guest list"). Critical but concerned, and not too over the top nasty. The penultimate track "I've Been That Boy" may be the band's finest slow song, detailing a brittle, unrequited affair from a long time ago. It is so open and mature it could have been recorded by any great band, any time. "You never looked at me like that." Who hasn't been there?

Math and Physics Party brings it all back for a conscious self-mockery, "We're So DIY," which might have been smarmy if the nine slices of the simple life hadn't been delivered so cleanly, crisply, without airs. It's almost utopian, making me want to "talk trash with Tullycraft," just like them. Where's my Casio again? - Three Imaginary Girls

"The Best Indiepop of 2010"

The second LP from Seattle’s Math and Physics Club follows up on their excellent 2006 debut with a similar mix of pop punch and storytelling, delivered in a streamlined way that keeps the emphasis on those strengths, without any unnecessary fluff. Each song quickly gets to the point, whether it’s to have a laugh at the whole nature of show business or to ponder how love changes over time. The album also contains what I’m pretty sure is my absolute favorite song of the year, “Trying to Say I Love You”, which sketches out a shy confession of love in so few strokes that it takes my breath away. - Popmatters

"Math and Physics Club - I Shouldn’t Look as Good as I Do"

Oh, the Matinee label; like their Northern California cousins Slumberland, the Santa Barbara imprint are like drug pushers for those of us whose post-college years were filled with The Smiths leading the twee-jangle pop revolution of post-Postcard Records Britain, buying records on the early Creation and Rough Trade labels, the C-86 compilation bands, and a smattering of the Sarah label as well. And in the case of M&PC, it’s once again a fix we’re glad to keep devouring. In fact, on the Seattle trio’s second LP, they are trying to answer the question no one was asking, namely, “Does the world need an American Belle & Sebastian?”, as just about every two-minute tune on the group’s record could have been found on their Scottish forebears first four albums. (Note, Belle also shares the decided influence of the older references above). In fact, if we were told that I Should ’s opening single, “Jimmy Had A Polaroid” was an early sketch demo of Belle’s If You’re Feeling Sinister ’s standard “Judy and the Dream of Horses,” it would be easy to believe. And for folks whose adolescence was spent in Olympia, digging the K Records scene and their flagship band in particular, Beat Happening, Charles Bert and his fellow original Clubmember guitarist James Werle could easily substitute for Belle’s Stuart Murdoch and Stevie Jackson if either wanted to go on holiday while the rest of their Glasgow group kept a recording session. And does this robust resemblance in any way restrict the pleasure of listening to this upbeat, fresh-faced, friendly, and sometimes even bubbly (“Will You Still Love Me?”) music? Oddly, no. As ever, an album like this that breaks no new ground whatsoever sinks or floats on the quality of its tunes as much as the bushel of smiles that forms the band’s attitude—even when they lyrics dig so much deeper, or are self-depricating, as on the closing “We’re So DIY!” And frankly, however British in feel and conception (with a little Calvin Johnson for Pacific Northwest flavoring), on one song after another, Werle’s Johnny Marr-light-touch guitars and Ethan Jones peppy, involved basslines, and the songs’ romantic hooks just beat down any defenses you care to erect. When the addict gets the pure stuff, he surrenders. ( - The Big Takeover

"Math and Physics Club - I Shouldn't Look As Good As I Do"

This Seattle trio’s 2nd full-length is another first-rate set of acoustic-oriented jangle-pop reminiscent of Belle & Sebastian, featuring economical arrangements mostly devoid of excessive ornamentation, but packing an abundance of catchy melodic hooks. 6/4/2010 -Don Yates - KEXP


Weekends Away EP, Matinee Recordings, 2005
Movie Ending Romance EP, Matinee Recordings, 2005
Math and Physics Club LP, Matinee Recordings, 2006
Baby I'm Yours EP, Matinee Recordings, 2007
Jimmy Had a Polaroid 7", Matinee Recordings, 2010
I Shouldn't Look As Good As I Do LP, Matinee Recordings, 2010



Math and Physics Club began as a basement project for longtime friends Charles Bert (vocals) and James Werle (guitar), but in the summer of 2004 the band coalesced around the additions of Kevin Emerson (drums), Saundrah Humphrey (violin) and Ethan Jones (bass).

The band quickly signed on with Santa Barbara-based indie label Matinee Recordings after sending them a copy of their four-song demo. Matinee released the band's first EP, Weekends Away, in early 2005.

Around the same time, John Richards at Seattle’s influential indie radio station KEXP also got his hands on an early copy of the demo and began spinning it on his morning show, declaring Math and Physics Club "Your new favorite band."

In spring 2005, the band played a string of West Coast shows with new labelmates and heroes The Lucksmiths, and landed an opening slot at the Sasquatch Music Festival. The band released a follow-up EP in July, and finished off the summer by playing to a packed house at Seattle’s Bumbershoot festival.

They released their self-titled debut album in October 2006, working with local producer/engineer Kevin Suggs (The Walkabouts, Smoosh). The album was crowned “Best Indiepop Album of 2006” by Popmatters, among other end-of-year lists.

After releasing another EP in 2007, the band went on hiatus for a couple years and re-emerged in 2010 with a new LP titled I Shouldn't Look As Good As I Do, produced by Martin Feveyear (Presidents of the USA, Mark Lanegan). The album once again landed on numerous year end lists, including Popmatters Best Indiepop of 2010.