Math and Physics Club - Weekends Away EP

matinée 056  /  February 2005
Math and Physics Club - Weekends Away EP
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Math and Physics Club - Weekends Away EP

matinée 056  /  February 2005

Highly anticipated debut single from a new Seattle quintet and the first American band to join the Matinée roster in five years. The EP includes four A-sides with jangling guitars, tambourines, violin, drums, handclaps and keyboards plus excellent lyrics - the wonderful title track 'Weekends Away,' the poignant 'Sixteen and Pretty,' the immediate 'Love, Again' and the two-minute pop thrill 'When We Get Famous.' Fans of The Smiths, The Housemartins, Trash Can Sinatras or The Lucksmiths will be delighted by this release and it is merely the beginning of the superb songs the band has to offer. Limited to 1000 copies in custom minijacket sleeve.

  1. Weekends Away
  2. Sixteen And Pretty
  3. Love, Again
  4. When We Get Famous


The lead track off Math and Physics Club's debut EP nips a classic Lucksmiths opening line for a title and sounds like The Clientele performing the first Smiths record-- after a Saturday night alone with Go-Betweens B-sides. In other words, yeah, I'm predisposed toward this stuff. That said, the songwriting does live up to its jangling guitars and roomy, Sarah Records-style production. Math and Physics Club set the match of literate, vivid lyrics and irrepressible melody to their faded-picturebook boy/girl harmonies. Organs straight from a 16-millimeter waking dream smolder in response, a perfect complement to the nascent summer heat. A warning to the recently single: This song depicts, literately and melodically, two contented lovers on a moonlit drive, complete with heads leaning on shoulders. "I read the map while you do all the driving," sings vocalist-guitarist Charles Bert, and the notion of putting one's direction in the hands of another (what's a metaphor between fellow travelers?) has never sounded more appealingly reckless.   --Pitchfork
This cute nugget literally just dropped through the letterbox and in just one little listen we surrendered. ‘Weekends Away’ is the debut single by the hotly tipped Seattle based quintet Math and Physics Club and let’s just say those of you out there still holding tightly to those threadbare early Sarah, Summershine, Bus Stop 7”’s thinking that those days of shy awkwardness and soul mate hand holding in front of the late night transistor listening to the Caretaker Race and Hey Paulette were to remain an odd but cherished snap shot to growing up had better think again. These maudlin gems will sound like the second coming of that age from the sprightly chime of the skipping chords on the angelic sounding opener ‘Weekends Away’ that’s so succulently bled through by the visible breeze of Hammonds to the reminiscent cardiac arrest ache of the nimbly drawn ‘Sixteen and Pretty’ which hits you cold and hard in the face like a downcast twist of Terry Jacks ‘Seasons in the Sun’. ‘When we get famous’ shirks and saunters with the spirits of the golden age of the Go Betweens running amok, jaunty, catchy, seamless melodies – what else could you ever want. Best of the lot though is the cruelly beautiful ‘Love, Again’ which take my word for, is carved from the same tugging threads that made those early Smiths releases both introspective and loveless and yet essentially life affirming brought out best by the contrasting shade to light morose matter of fact vocals rubbing oddly against the effervescent sunshine glee of the tumbling fret board workmanship. A classic all said and done.   --Losing Today
The band name seems to say everything. Faux-Brit sad-sacks dwelling on the innocence of youth? Check. Bookish charm and awkward sexuality? Check. Twee guitars and weepy strings? Check. What the band name won't tell you is that Weekends Away is a brilliant EP. This fey five-piece draws from the best elements of its peers without tending toward sarcasm, like, say, Belle and Sebastian, or falling into the muck of melodrama a la Trembling Blue Stars. Like a shy schoolboy watching his father pore over bills and regrets, singer/guitarist Charles Bert is clearly nervous about what the future holds. In a desperate attempt to stave off the inevitability of boredom, he evokes calm summer nights, the sweet smell of dew-drizzled grass, and road trips with a lover -- all with an objective plainness that only heightens the romance. Opener "Weekends Away" throws you in the back of a beat-up car to watch quietly while the two lovers up front drive through the night to get anywhere, so long as they're away. The pretty keys, hushed drums and shy, rolling basslines provide the hint of optimism needed to carry the young couple toward freedom, even if it's only for the weekend. After listening to "Sixteen and Pretty", you'll wonder why you just saw your whole life flash before your eyes: "Staring through the window glass / I took your photograph / with my reflection looking back / memories in white and black." Bert whispers. Is it a little too nostalgic? Yes. Will you want to bathe yourself in Bert's winsome heartbreak? Yes. "Oh, God only knows / I was just like any other boy." He sings throughout the chorus, and that's just the point: If you can't relate to this EP, you should probably find work as a mannequin. By the time you've listened to the courageous strings on "Love, Again" and the jangly, lyrically sly "When We Get Famous", one thing will be clear: these four short, simple tunes quietly announce the arrival of a great new band.   --Splendid
Math and Physics Club are five very sweet and gentle kids from Seattle playing indie pop the likes of which would have sounded right at home on Rough Trade's Indiepop collection. Equally influenced by the lovelorn sounds of Sarah record bands like Brighter and the laid back romanticism of Aussie bands like the Lucksmiths or the Go-Betweens, the band's first EP is a four track gem that manages to escape any charges of imitation by delivering four very strong songs loaded with tender emotion and easy going charm. The band plays it very straight throughout with loads of jangle and some lovely violin from Saundrah Humphrey. The only downside to the record (and band) is vocalist Charles Bert's tendency to lapse into Morrissey territory from time to time. Still, Weekends Away is a very nice debut from a very nice band and nice isn't a bad thing to be.   --All Music Guide
If springtime sunshine hasn’t yet reached your corner of the world it soon will. If you’re still trapped in the cold dark grasp of winter and can only dream of summer days, bathed in warm rays, soft, gentle breezes and long soothing evenings sipping chilled drinks on the patio then this record is just what you need. From the opening chimes of the title track the mood is set, it’s uplifting, it’s heart warming, it’s an indie kids heaven. Reminiscing about the halcyon days of our youth is always a winner, when summers were longer and hotter, people were happier and days were endless adventures of life and love and happiness, and this record has it all by the bucket load. Through the up tempo jingle jangle of ‘Weekends Away’ to the poignant ‘Sixteen and Pretty’ the listener is captivated, the imagery is so vivid, so detailed, yet I challenge any of you to listen to this record and not see yourself in the place of the subject matter... ‘I’m kissing my first kiss, I’m wishing my first wish...’ ‘Love, Again’ is an endless run of chiming arpeggios crafted around a tale of hopeless optimism, that leaves you wondering if optimism can ever be hopeless. Closing the record is ‘When We Get Famous’, a clap-along mish-mash of all the three songs that have gone before, a bit of everything in here, and it works well. It’s not a new genre, it’s not pushing any boundaries, but Math and Physics Club are certainly a pure out and out indie force to be reckoned with. They chime like The Lucksmiths, They swoon like The Smiths, they are as infectious as The Housemartins, and craft songs that Bobby Wratten would give his right arm for. This record epitomises all that is good about pure guitar lead pop, it’d be wrong to label it as belonging to a genre which may colour your idea of what it is, but with these sweet tunes, luscious melodies and readily embraceable lyrics you’d be mad to miss out. It’s indie pop with balls, It’s indie heaven.   --Friends of the Heroes
Archetypal Matinée stuff with Marr-like guitars rattling like a sunbeam chased around a barrel, drums tap-tapping like entertained feet. ‘Weekends Away’ then, where matters of map-reading and driving duties are divvied up. ‘Sixteen And Pretty’ and ‘When We Get Famous’ cup their ears to a jaunty 60’s hark, a la the Housemartins tickled with Simon & Garfunkel folk tambourine.   --Vanity Project
I guess I'm a little behind, reviewing Seattle, Washington's Math and Physics Club's EP Weekends Away just a few short days after the band released its new EP, Movie Ending Romance. That new EP is probably in my to-review pile somewhere, which is dangerously tall and teetering precariously, but I try and I try to make a dent in it and get to the music I like and want to tell you about, so if I'm just now getting to this EP, released only a few months ago, please forgive me, and let me tell you about this fun little pop band. Math and Physics Club must be doing something right, as the boys (and girl) caught the attention of indie-pop stalwart Matinée Recordings and has become the only American band on the respected label. Don't fear any drastic style changes from what you may expect from Matinée, though; this is still crisp, sweet, and lovely indie pop that will make you dance one moment and swoon in joy the next. From the opening, crisp guitar and echoed vocals on the title track, I can't help but love this band. The beat is upbeat and airy, the guitar rich with reverb, the female vocals mixing in sweetly in the background, lyrics of driving all night and spending lazy hours with a loved one: it's all put together brilliantly. "Sixteen and Pretty" is quieter, focused on acoustic guitar and a more subtle melody but with a nice mix of tambourine, keys, and strings floating effortlessly in the background. "Love, Again" feels much more like a classic Belle & Sebastian song with some Lucksmiths mixed in, the guitar effects giving the song a beautiful tone, and the strings in the background lending a kind of moodiness to the upbeat song about love. And "When We Get Famous" shows the band has a love for classic Smiths songs, even in the lo-fi production quality of this upbeat song. Summertime is meant for indie pop. While there are many more lighthearted and bouncy than Math and Physics Club, this band has a sincerity that some of the too-sweet bands lack, and there's quite obviously a tremendous amount of talent here. What I like is that the band doesn't knock you over the head with the dulcet strings or studio effects, instead using them subtly and sweetly around a foundation clearly based on pure pop. I'll be tracking down my copy of Movie Ending Romance now to get me through the next summer month.   --Delusions of Adequacy
Ever since I first heard of them last summer (when I saw them play their first club show), this band has had a pretty quick rise in popularity, with some successful shows here in Seattle, a couple radio sessions, and now this brilliant debut ep on Matinée. The songs are simple jangly tunes in the vein of the Smiths and the Lucksmiths, with very catchy melodies and somewhat melancholic vocals. The title track and closer, "When We Get Famous", are both upbeat and absolutely perfect pop hits, while "Sixteen And Pretty" and "Love, Again" are a bit slower but just as lovely. Just you wait, there's more where this came from!   --IndiePages
Now, out of the gate and a nominee for prettiest pop band of the year is Math & Physics Club! This Seattle-based quartet are a gentle lot, with a quiet sensibility that's quite smart, and they'll quickly cause your heart to smile. With a gentle shuffle and quiet drums and a lovely, subtle violin in the background, this young band is best described as sedate. It's a lot like a warm spring weekend with a newfound love, this. "Weekends Away" and "Love Again" are charmers, thanks in part to lead singer Charles Bert's coy voice. Their style's a little bit similar to the Ocean Blue, but with a more indie-pop edge. Dig the handclaps on "When We Get Famous," too! All four songs on this little record are smile-inducing toe-tappers, and I can't complain one bit about that--can't wait to hear more!   --Mundane Sounds
This Seattle band debuts with an utterly charming EP of dreamy twee-pop reminiscent of other soft-but-smart types like the Lucksmiths, the Go-Betweens and Belle & Sebastian. The band’s gentle folk-pop sound is spiked with some instantly hummable melodies.   --KEXP Radio