Music

Stronger Hooks Prevail with Thank You Scientist's Latest Video, "Swarm" (premiere)

Jordan Blum
Photo: Sarah Sturges

New Jersey progressive rock/jazz fusion septet, Thank You Scientist are as lovably technical, zany, and catchy as ever on this latest single from their upcoming third LP, Terraformer.

When it comes to blending bizarre antics, infectiously high-pitched melodies, and staggeringly technical yet tight mixes of progressive rock, jazz fusion, orchestral, and more, no one does it better than Thank You Scientist. Signed to Evil Ink Records—which is run by Coheed and Cambria frontman Claudio Sanchez, with whom vocalist Salvatore Marrano certainly compares—the New Jersey septet's first two records, 2012's Maps of Non-Existent Places and 2016's Stranger Heads Prevail, solidified them as masters of memorable hooks and mesmerizing density. Luckily, their upcoming third outing, Terraformer, is right around the corner. To help assuage anticipation, the troupe is releasing a video for the LP's final single, "Swarm", and it unabashedly presents everything that makes Thank You Scientist so endearingly characteristic and commendable.

Check out the video for "Swarm" and let us know what you think. Also, be sure to get your copy of the track now (via any streaming platform), as well as Terraformer when it releases on 14 June.

According to guitarist Tom Monda, "'Swarm' is a song about reconciling with the fact that every small decision you've made is responsible for where you are presently, and the endless obsession over the 'what if's'." Kicking off with a progressive metal onslaught of hyperactive electric guitar riffs, bass lines, and percussion, a flurry of horns soon adds to the chaos. In typical Thank You Scientist fashion, the arrangement remains hectic but more manageable as Marrano chimes in with elevated sing-along allure. This chemistry is sustained for the first half or so of "Swarm".

Afterward, a much sparser and calmer movement starts—prioritizing horns and danceable drumming beneath the vocals—until another blazingly virtuosic instrumental passage oscillates between familiar themes and newfound trickery. All in all, it perfectly captures Thank You Scientist's knack for fusing irresistible accessibility and explosive sophistication.

As for Nick Hipa's video, it's classily designed to appear like a nostalgic tongue-in-cheek trip through the advertising tropes of 1950s and 1960s America. Specifically, the fonts, colors, shapes, and products of the time—such as old televisions, microscopes, rancher homes, radios, and fast food restaurants—transition between each other while the lyrics, album title, and song title are scattered around. In a way, its old-fashioned simplicity is incongruous to the music it represents, but that's precisely what makes it—and Thank You Scientist—so boundlessly unique.

Music


Books


Film


Recent
Music

Dancing in the Street: Our 25 Favorite Motown Singles

Detroit's Motown Records will forever be important as both a hit factory and an African American-owned label that achieved massive mainstream success and influence. We select our 25 favorite singles from the "Sound of Young America".

Music

The Durutti Column's 'Vini Reilly' Is the Post-Punk's Band's Definitive Statement

Mancunian guitarist/texturalist Vini Reilly parlayed the momentum from his famous Morrissey collaboration into an essential, definitive statement for the Durutti Column.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

What Will Come? COVID-19 and the Politics of Economic Depression

The financial crash of 2008-2010 reemphasized that traumatic economic shifts drive political change, so what might we imagine — or fear — will emerge from the COVID-19 depression?

Music

Datura4 Take Us Down the "West Coast Highway Cosmic" (premiere)

Australia's Datura4 deliver a highway anthem for a new generation with "West Coast Highway Cosmic". Take a trip without leaving the couch.

Music

Teddy Thompson Sings About Love on 'Heartbreaker Please'

Teddy Thompson's Heartbreaker Please raises one's spirits by accepting the end as a new beginning. He's re-joining the world and out looking for love.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

Little Protests Everywhere

Wherever you are, let's invite our neighbors not to look away from police violence against African Americans and others. Let's encourage them not to forget about George Floyd and so many before him.

Music

Carey Mercer's New Band Soft Plastics Score Big with Debut '5 Dreams'

Two years after Frog Eyes dissolved, Carey Mercer is back with a new band, Soft Plastics. 5 Dreams and Mercer's surreal sense of incongruity should be welcomed with open arms and open ears.

Music

Sondre Lerche Rewards 'Patience' with Clever and Sophisticated Indie Pop

Patience joins its predecessors, Please and Pleasure, to form a loose trilogy that stands as the finest work of Sondre Lerche's career.

Film

Ruben Fleischer's 'Venom' Has No Bite

Ruben Fleischer's toothless antihero film, Venom is like a blockbuster from 15 years earlier: one-dimensional, loose plot, inconsistent tone, and packaged in the least-offensive, most mass appeal way possible. Sigh.

Books

Cordelia Strube's 'Misconduct of the Heart' Palpitates with Dysfunction

Cordelia Strube's 11th novel, Misconduct of the Heart, depicts trauma survivors in a form that's compelling but difficult to digest.

Music

Reaching For the Vibe: Sonic Boom Fears for the Planet on 'All Things Being Equal'

Sonic Boom is Peter Kember, a veteran of 1980s indie space rockers Spacemen 3, as well as Spectrum, E.A.R., and a whole bunch of other fascinating stuff. On his first solo album in 30 years, he urges us all to take our foot off the gas pedal.

Film

Old British Films, Boring? Pshaw!

The passage of time tends to make old films more interesting, such as these seven films of the late '40s and '50s from British directors John Boulting, Carol Reed, David Lean, Anthony Kimmins, Charles Frend, Guy Hamilton, and Leslie Norman.

Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews

Features
Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.