Math and Physics Club - Our Hearts Beat Out Loud

matcd065  /  November 2013
Math and Physics Club - Our Hearts Beat Out Loud
cd   $10.00

lp   $16.00

digital   $8.00

other digital:   Apple Music     Amazon     Spotify

Math and Physics Club - Our Hearts Beat Out Loud

matcd065  /  November 2013

'Our Hearts Beat Out Loud' is the third studio album from our favorite North American pop stars Math and Physics Club, and their first since 2010's sparkling 'I Shouldn't Look As Good As I Do' LP.

The new ten song collection is the band's most dynamic to date, confidently expanding their palette of subtle, literate pop and sprinkling it with hints of country, dub, distortion, and Graceland.

Ethan Jones, the band's bass player and resident multi-instrumentalist, co-produced the album with Bob Schwenkler at Olympia's fabled Dub Narcotic Studio. Their goal was to make an old fashioned album with two sides, taking advantage of the studio’s vintage analog equipment to get away from the sound of digital perfection and instead sound like a band playing together in a room.

With Charles already living in Olympia, and James and Ethan having deep connections there as well, Dub Narcotic was a natural fit, not to mention being ground zero for the legendary K Records. It was a perfect atmosphere for the band to relax and capture some of the feel of their early EPs.

The first single, 'Long Drag,' is surprisingly groovy with its schoolyard beat and staccato handclaps. The song was originally recorded as a straight-ahead rocker, but after playing a cut-up dub version for some friends the band decided to keep it.

More surprises follow with 'We're Not Lost,' a brooding anthem to teenage heartache with its angular guitars and snap-tight drumming. Meanwhile, 'My Crooked Arms' strips away the drums and bass to reveal an emotional core of raw lyrics and guitars, accented beautifully by cello.

For you vinyl aficionados, side two opens with 'We Didn't Run From Anyone,' a country-leaning ballad about love on the rocks (what else?), with Ethan's gentle fingerpicking and breezy organ setting the scene.

The album closes with a dramatic one-two punch. 'That's What Love Is' is a classic jangly rocker that's sure to please the most ardent anoraks with its shades of Brighter, while the album's final surprise, 'Road Carry Me Home,' is a lovely piano and cello driven heartbreaker.

If that wasn't enough, the sleeve design features stunning papercraft artwork by Brooklyn artist Tae Won Yu that particularly shines in the larger vinyl format.

As 2014 will mark ten years since we first fell in love with Math and Physics Club, 'Our Hearts Beat Out Loud' shows they can still surprise us. Available on CD and limited edition LP at finer record shops everywhere.

  1. We Won't Keep Secrets
  2. Tied To A Stone
  3. We're Not Lost
  4. Long Drag
  5. My Crooked Arms
  6. We Didn't Run From Anyone
  7. I Know It's Over
  8. Thank God I Met You
  9. That's What Love Is
  10. Road Carry Me Home


What more do you need to know about the majesty of Math and Physics Club that you can't find on their wonderful new album 'Our Hearts Beat Out Loud'? Over the space of ten songs, Math and Physics Club have managed to work me up into such a lather that I've pretty much assigned all other records released this year to the bin. The standard MAPC sound is here in the world-weary 'Tied to a Stone', but there are further signs that the band are willing to soak up influences old and new in the shape of the excellent single 'Long Drag' and 'We Won't Keep Secrets'. Meanwhile, 'We Won't Run from Anyone' isn't the paean to football hooliganism you might think it would be from these big, bad bruisers, but three and half moments of the sweetest reverie, with - gasp - and hint of country in there. Such is the confidence coursing through this band, that they don't flinch from calling a song 'I Know It's Over', and then rip-off the harmonica solo from a Housemartins track, whilst 'Thank God I Met You' is a sweet folk/bluegrass number, set around the strength one person can bring. But it's probably 'That's What Love Is' that really hits the spot. A pretty straightforward pop song has a lot going for it, in my opinion, and this is one of the best. Hope, despair, love, hate - it's all in here and drives 'Our Hearts Beat Out Loud' to new heights. Eighteen months ago, Math and Physics Club were on their backsides, with annoying real life getting in the way of more important stuff like making music. One trip to Europe and a stunning third album later and they sound in their best ever form. If they ever threaten to quit again, I'm moving them all into my garden shed until they agree to carry on. Think on, Math and Physics Club, think on...   --A Layer of Chips
In the sunny cold and kicked leaves, autumn gales shake album of the year contenders down from the trees in earnest. First to fall at our grateful feet comes long-player number three from Seattle pop kingpins Math & Physics Club, as they decamp to Dub Narcotic to juggle the heroic Smiths-isms of yore with lashings of Olympia soul and a few spoonfuls of C&W, further honing the(ir) sublime art of the regretful, but hope-filled chiming indiepop song in the process. If taster 45 "Long Drag" remains a slight outlier with its handclaps and fizzy rhythmic nous, it's certainly not the only 24-carat jewel on display: the first half of the record especially oozes an easy majesty, fuelled by the potency of "We Won't Keep Secrets", the song that first ushers you over the threshold; while towards the end of the piece, it's the familiar-sounding but pristine "That's What Love Is" which unfussily but remorselessly hoovers up most remaining plaudits. Math & Physics are BACK and... well, you know the rest by now.   --In Love With These Times, In Spite Of These Times
On their third album, Math and Physics Club have perfected what has always been their strongest trait: economy. In the lyrics, the tunes, the instruments…they have a way of keeping everything within their melodic pop songs lean, even elemental, and bowling you over with that simplicity. The songs are, unsurprisingly, love songs, but as always that mean many things. Many sweet things are said from one person to another, but they always carry the sense that they’ve been earned, aren’t frivolous, and didn’t come easily. There seems a legion of stories within these songs—of nights, days, and bumps in the road—but the stories aren’t all told. Instead what we’ll get is a catchy melody, sparsely sung, carrying an economically worded, yet emotionally overwhelming sentiment. There’s also an overriding love for pop music here—a memory is inevitably tied to the song that was playing on the radio, which is how we all live, right?   --PopMatters (Best of 2013)
Three years in the making, Seattle’s Math and Physics Club return with a new, sparkling slice of Indie pop, out now on the Matinée Recordings label. The band, vocalist and guitarist Charles Bert, Ethan Jones who provides bass, keys and a myriad of other things, and James Werle (guitar) wanted to make an old-fashioned two-sided album, and chose Olympia’s Dub Narcotic Studios to take advantage of the studio’s vintage analog equipment. Bob Schwenkler co-produced with the bands own Ethan Jones to make a record that sounds like a band playing together in a room. Fashionable it may not be, good it most certainly is. The strength of the album could possibly seen as its weakness as well. There’s no grandeur, very few emotional sweeps and swirls, no grittyness or aggression in Our Hearts Beat Out Loud. Instead there’s these indie pop gems, bedroom pop if you like, much more innocent sounding, verging on the twee even in places, but also propped up with these melodious foundations. Add into the mix this sense of country pop that purveys some of the tracks, and what comes across is a really genuine and enjoyable record. Musically there’s jangly pop, of course, but there’s added depth with the rich sound of the cello, alongside banjo, glockenspiel, and handclaps, so beloved of us here on Backseat Mafia. But every track features this sweet interplay between the picked guitar and Bert’s rich vocal. Lyrically, there’s tales of love, but more often love lost (I Know It’s Over) or the disintegration of a relationship, particularly from the point of view of the spurned partner (Long Drag). Elsewhere, on tracks such as Tied to a Stone and We Didn’t Run From Anyone, there is this sort of hazy, rose-tinted look back into the past. Save for a few short moments when the record meanders (but meanders in a loveable way) this is a fine return from Math and Physics Club, and it’s littered with high points such as the single We’re Not Lost and the brilliant I Know It’s Over. Welcome back Math and Physics Club, you’ve been missed.   --Backseat Mafia
What do you get when you take sophisticated indie pop and add the whimsical atmosphere of Olympia's fabled Dub Narcotic Studio to the equation? I'm no mathematician, but the sum seems to be one of the most rewarding listens of the year. Feels right to join the Math and Physics Club.   --Linear Tracking Lives (Favorite Albums of 2013)
Howdy! What is all this country music? Isn’t this supposed to be a POP website? I understand your point sir. I have good news for you. This is a pop website at least each and every time there’s a new Cats On Fire release or a new Math and Physics Club release. This time it’s Math and Physics Club. Their new album Our Hearts Beat Out Loud will hit the stores and our hearts tomorrow 19th of November. And holy mother of God or Rose Melberg, This is just fantastic. Ok, I’ve just heard these two songs that you can listen to below, but I’m smiling like The Softies and The Lucksmiths were playing a house concert in my living room. I need this album. It makes me happy.   --One Chord To Another
Math and Physics Club have just released their third album on Matinee Records. Recorded in the Dub Narcotic studio in the heart of (K) Olympia, Our Hearts Beat Out Loud sees the Seattle-Olympia band incorporating a more varied set of influences while still adhering to their sweet and tender indiepop aesthetic. The band seems to have gotten their feet back under them after something of a lackluster sophomore album. It’s not that they are rocking out now, to be sure Math and Physics Club have one speed – slow and easy. Slow and easy and maybe a little subversive. Many famous crooners had dark sides to their lily-white public personalities and singer Charles Bert with his sweet tenor sings about getting drunk on cherry wine, Ok maybe he doesn’t have a dark side like Bing Crosby, but hey, he’s singing about getting drunk. The band paints the ten songs on this album using various brushstrokes. The album’s first song We Won’t Keep Secrets features a wonderful guitar lead that sounds like it was lifted straight from Paul Simon‘s Graceland. Though its title evokes the Smiths, I Know It’s Over starts off with a blast of harmonica that immediately brings to mind the Housemartins. The wonderful country-tinged story song Thank God I Met You is good enough to have been on Billy Bragg‘s Don’t Try This at Home. The most upbeat song on the record Long Drag was rightfully released as a 7-inch single earlier in the year. With its handclaps and spitefully delivered lyrics, it is the standout song on the album. The band even employs an anthemic quality to That’s What Love Is. In another band’s hands it might become U2-esque, but Math and Physics Club keep it in the armchair. Math and Physic club continue to deftly operate in their understated, slow and easy way and in Our Hearts Beat Out Loud have made a comfortable record with a few subtle surprises.   --The Finest Kiss
Do you have an indie pop lover on your Christmas list? I'm thinking of someone who appreciates guitar pop with a twee bent, a literate approach, a broad musical palette and a bit of an attitude. Someone who would understand the value of analog recording at the famous Dub Narcotic studio in Olympia, Washington. Some years I'd give you a sympathetic shoulder to cry on, because this kind of music fan may be tough to please. But this year we can make a suggestion that might cross a name off your list before the retail Armageddon known as Black Friday. Yes, we can, because Matinee Recordings has just released Our Hearts Beat Out Loud from Seattle's Math and Physics Club. The album delivers ten nuggets carefully crafted to tug your heartstrings, remind you of joy, take you to the bring of melancholy and then bring you back with a big sigh and expectation for a bright tomorrow. There is classic twee pop, a few with a relaxed country feel ("We Didn't Run From Anyone" and "Thank God I Met You"), and a few that are more aggressive than is typical for this trio. The basic set-up up is fleshed out with occasional organ, harmonica, cello and even a glockenspiel (Does one need a license for a glockenspiel?). And the songs here bear that hallmark of good songwriting -- the ability to express raw emotions honestly without having to rely on excess drama. And with the assured musicianship, warm vocals and pop hooks, we can take everything Math and Physics Club is serving. An excellent introduction to the record is "We're Not Lost", just under four minutes of delicious young heartache. If you are keeping lists of best indie pop songs of the year, you can write this one in on the list even before you press play. One of the standout tracks is the previously released single, "Long Drag", on which the band shows a new dimension -- a narrator who is angry and willing to point out that his lover was the one who failed to work on the relationship. With staccato percussion and handclaps, it is a great song with a killer refrain that underscores the power of music to heal wounded hearts.   --When You Motor Away
The three lads who make up Math and Physics Club return to form on 2013's Our Hearts Beat Out Loud. Giving their classic guitar pop sound a boost of energy on uptempo janglers like "We Won't Keep Secrets" and "Long Drag" was a good idea, and so was the attention they pay to detail in the arrangements. The injection of some country-pop twang here and there is an interesting surprise too, giving their sound some dimension. Most importantly though, the band managed to write a better batch of tunes that are more in line with their early singles. Full of understated storytelling and melodies that have all the rough edges carefully and lovingly polished off, the songs capture tiny moments of melancholy and tenderly felt emotions with a word, a perfect guitar line, or a gentle tug in Charles Bert's intimate vocals. The band isn't interested in big gestures, and for those who need their music to make big statements, this is a terrible place to look. If music that whispers in your ear and/or offers solace on a crummy day sounds better, then Math and Physics Club deliver exactly that on this album.   --All Music Guide
This Seattle band’s third album is another strong set of twee indie-pop reminiscent of Belle & Sebastian, featuring jangly electric and acoustic guitars along with occasional piano, cello and other instrumentation fleshing out a variety of well-crafted songs with heartfelt lyrics and catchy pop hooks.   --KEXP Radio
Man, seems like almost five months since I’ve written about Math and Physics Club, and that’s precisely the perfect time to reintroduce you to one of the greatest indiepop acts bouncing around at the moment. The band is readying the release of Our Hearts Beat Out Loud, and this is their second single off the album. It’s got a steady bounce from the get-go, and the casually soft delivery of the vocals are precisely what we’ve come to expect from the band. I’m digging the way the guitar has a tendency to move back and forth between the bass and the drums, seemingly snaking its way for maximum pop effect. You can grab the CD from Matinée Recordings…it’s a must have for the end of the year.   --Austin Town Hall
I Math and Physics Club, vincitori con largo distacco al concorso per la successione dei Lucksmiths, sono stati la puntuale e periodica manifestazione dello spirito pop più soave dell'ultimo decennio. Lo confermano ora a tre anni dall'ultimo disco (uscito sempre sulla californiana Matineé) con un nuovo lavoro che testimonia gli eccelsi risultati raggiunti nei precedenti album: la perfetta sinergia tra strumenti e voce, il talento melodico da primi della classe, la naturalezza con la quale lasciano fiorire senza sforzo i loro gioielli pop sottolineando di canzone in canzone come il loro Club (tratto da una scena di "The Breakfast Club") abbia da tempo trovato la difficile formula matematica della perfect pop song. In "Our Hearts Beat Out Loud", registrato a Olympia, i cinque di Seattle hanno cercato di ripercorrere i passi dei primi Ep, provando in qualche modo a conservarne intatta la magia; il risultato è un insieme armonioso e rotondo di canzoni divise tra una nostalgia mai troppo pungente e la dolcezza pressoché assoluta di cui è a volte capace l'indie-pop. Dal sophomore è cambiato molto. Non i sapori, che continuano a essere quelli di un autunno (di tutti gli autunni) dell'era d'oro del guitar-pop, non i colori tenui dell'indie-pop stagionale, ma la semplice qualità delle canzoni, che all'interno del precipuo format canzoncina confezionano sensazioni autentiche, spogliandosi dell'anonimato rischioso in cui si potrebbe incappare e colorandosi di tinte tenui e dolcissime in un lavoro di sintesi che fa tesoro di tutte le precedenti esperienze del terzetto. Più delicato e forse sovversivo quando Charles Bart canta della volta in cui si è ubriacato con del vino rosso, "Our Hearts Beat Out Load" è ancora a tutti gli effetti un album dei Math and Physics Club da cima a fondo. Dalla chitarra solista pennellata dell'opener "We Won't Keep Secrets", ai tocchi vagamente Housemartins della più upbeat "Long Drag". E se il titolo di "I Know it's Over" potrebbe evocare gli Smiths, non lo è poi nella pratica perché il brano si sveglia con un'armonica da country-story che i Man From Delmonte avrebbero di certo apprezzato. "Thank God I Met You" si dipana con un delicato accenno di Americana in stile Billy Bragg, ma il dolce scorrere dei carillon melodici si stabilisce comunque sulle coordinate più cantautorali dell'indie-pop. I Math and Phsysics Club colgono nuovamente nel segno: cuciono con meticolosa precisione le loro sequenze di ricami, creando maglioni di lana che non possono far altro che scaldare il cuore ("Thank God I Met You", "That's What Love Is", "We're Not Lost" sono tanto dolci quanto irresistibili), e alla fine di ogni canzone ricominciano da capo, con le stesse modalità. Manca il colpo di genio, quello che trasforma il dondolamento di anche in brividi lungo la schiena, ma come capita a tutti i dischi fatti con intelligenza e garbo, "Our Hearts Beat Out Loud" parte da una generica e iniziale familiarità per proporre un più profondo apprezzamento dei dettagli, dalle variazioni armoniche agli incisi nascosti, ma è capace di crescere sotto traccia, sotto al maglione, dove alla fine (non si direbbe) i nostri cuori battono rumorosamente.   --Ondarock
Tercer disco de Math and Physics Club y es tan bonito, o más aún, que los dos anteriores. Cada vez tengo más claro que son uno de los grupos más infravalorados del indiepop actual. Seguro que cuando llegue el momento de que se separen (que esperemos que no sea pronto, que sigan sacando discos y discos siempre) nos pasará como nos pasa ahora con Hefner o con The Lucksmiths que los escuchamos una y otra vez y seguimos sin comprender por qué no llegaron más lejos, cuando merecían mucha mayor consideración de la que obtuvieron mientras estaban activos. Pero bueno, los fans de siempre sabremos que de verdad merecen la pena. De todos modos, Math and Physics Club siguen a lo suyo, no parece preocuparles en absoluto, y son capaces de ofrecer pequeñas joyas de indiepop, rebosantes de amor y de frescura, simples (que no fáciles) y efectivas. ¿Por qué hay gente que se empeña en esperar a que Belle and Sebastian vuelvan a hacer lo que hacían antes si tenemos a grupos como Math and Physics Club o Allo Darlin’ que pueden llenar ese hueco sin ningún problema? Our hearts beat out loud (precioso título y preciosa portada, por cierto, que son una buena muestra de lo que te vas a encontrar al escucharlo) sigue la fórmula de sus discos anteriores pero no suena repetitivo, al contrario. Cuando se tienen canciones más bonitas no necesitas que un grupo se reinventen disco a disco, porque lo que importa al final son las canciones, ¿no? Como nos tienen acostumbrados, el disco pasa en un suspiro (dura 30 minutos escasos) pero se disfruta de principio a fin, así que cuando acaba siempre tienes ganas de volver a darle al play y seguir sumergiéndote en él. Canciones como “We are not lost”, “Long drag” o “That’s what love is” se convierten en himnos pop desde la primera escucha. Y encima es que son muy majos, como nos demostraron cuando nos contestaron, con mucho interés, esta entrevista.   --Ayer Nevo en Silsoe (Favorite albums of 2013)
Tercer álbum de estudio de este grupo norteamericano de indiepop, en el que han incorporado elementos del country y hasta del dub, aunque no te confundas, todo suena muy pop, como siempre. Para ello, se han ido a Olympia a los estudios Dub Narcotic del sello K Records, a trabajar con Bob Schwenkler, responsable del sonido analógico del disco, junto a Ethan Jones, el bajista de la banda. El disco contiene diez perlas de pop de guitarras que apenas supera la media hora de duración, un pop que suena a BRIGHTER, TREMBLING BLUE STARS, THE LADYBUG TRANSISTOR, o incluso a THE HOUSEMARTINS. Un buen disco, sin duda, que va ganando a cada nueva escucha.   --El Planeta Amarillo
Tra i più brillanti artefici statunitensi dell’inesauribile stagione indie-pop, i Math And Physics Club tornano a farsi sentire con il loro terzo disco, dopo tre anni di silenzio trascorsi dal precedente “I Shouldn’t Look As Good As I Do”. Nelle dieci nuove canzoni, delle quali “I Know It’s Over” aveva funto da succulenta anticipazione nella compilation celebrativa dei quindici anni della Matinée Recordings (“A Sunday Matinée”), la band di Seattle conferma il graduale processo di ispessimento dell’impatto delle proprie agili popsong rispetto alle dolcezze tra Smiths e Belle And Sebastian dell’omonimo esordio del 2006. Lo si capisce fin dal titolo come i Math And Physics Club siano adesso sempre più propensi ad alzare i volumi delle loro chitarre e ritmiche veloci e sbarazzine; ciò non implica certo una transizione al più abrasivo formato che sta caratterizzando tante recenti esperienze guitar-pop d’Oltreoceano. C’è infatti tutta l’agrodolce grazia indie-pop in “Our Hearts Beat Out Loud”, unita a un’indole a tratti vivace e spigliata (si vedano “We’re Not Lost” e il primo singolo “Long Drag”) ma più spesso sottilmente malinconica. In quest’ultimo caso rifulge al meglio la sensibilità dei Math And Physics Club, capaci di catturare nell’arco dei canonici tre minuti un caleidoscopio di emozioni fragili (“We Didn’t Run From Anyone”) filtrato via via attraverso chitarre jangly (“That’s What Love Is”, deliziosamente contagiosa) e tocchi di gradevolissima retroguardia pop che non mancano di fare qualche tuffo negli anni ’60 (“Thank God I Met You”, “I Know It’s Over”), così riportando la barra di navigazione della band dalle parti delle originarie affinità con Belle And Sebastian e Lucksmiths. Perché, in fondo, quella per il pop d’autore è molto più di un’opzione stilistica; è una naturale propensione senza tempo e aliena alle mode, che in “Our Hearts Beat Out Loud” Math And Psysics Club sanno alimentare con rinnovata, variopinta brillantezza.   --Music Won't Save You
Eure Herzen werden auch lauter schlagen, wenn ihr. a) das wunderschöne Plattencover von "Our Hearts Beat Out Loud" in den Händen halten werdet, das vom Brooklyner Künstler Tae Won Yu entworfen wurde. Dieser gestaltete bereits Cover für Bands wie Built To Spill, konzentrierte sich aber in den letzten beiden Jahren auf die Kunst des Kartonmodellbaus (Papercraft), so dass seine Arbeiten nun die aktuellen Hüllen (Album sowie die dazugehörige Single "Long Drag") des Math And Physics Clubs zieren. Besonders schön anzusehen natürlich in der LP-Version. b) die Platte auflegt, denn das Trio aus Seattle erweitert auf seinem dritten Album die bekannte Klangpalette zwischen C-86-Sounds und Gitarrenpop im Sinne von The Lucksmiths und Belle & Sebastian: "Lone Drag" kommt dem am nächsten, was Math And Physics Club wohl einen Rocker nennen würden, "We Didn't Run From Anyone" nähert sich Country-Gefilden und "I Know It's Over" lässt eine herrliche The Housemartins-Mundharmonika erklingen. Charles Bert (Gesang, Gitarre), James Werle (Gitarre) und Ethan Jones (Bass, Keyboards), der das Album zusammen mit Bob Schwenkler in dem Dub Narcotic Studio in Olympia co-produzierte, veröffentlichten "Our Hearts Beat Out Loud" im letzten November über Matinée Records, was für den ein oder anderen bereits ein Qualitätsmerkmal und Gütesiegel darstellt.   --Platten vor Gericht
Dei secondi appena nominati aspettavamo questo "Our Hearts Beat Out Loud" ormai da quasi 3 anni. E se tutte le attese portassero questi risultati, beh, lasciatemi aspettare in pace! C'è freschezza, intelligenza pop e gusto melodico in abbondanza nel terzo disco della formazione di Seattle. Perle guitar-pop che sposano le sonorità di pesi massimi come Luckysmiths o Belle and Sebastian, ma con innegabile personalità e capacità di smarcarsi da ingombranti accostamenti. Sanno muoversi leggeri su territori gentili i ragazzi, come in Tied To A Stone, salvo poi catturarci con il ritmo, i battimani e la gioiosità di Long Drag. Perchè quello che vince in questo lavoro è la grazia, la sincerità disarmante che ti conquista fin dal primo ascolto, quell'ironia che si mescola con la sensibilità e non è cosa che in molti riescono a fare così bene. Arrivi a I Know It's Over e tutto è così cristallino ed spigliato che si rimane a bocca aperta dall'incanto e pensi di aver raggiunto il top, salvo poi che due pezzi dopo sei li a cantare le lodi di That's What Love Is con quel giro di chitarra che ti cattura per non lasciarti più. Niente da fare, i Math and Physics Club hanno realizzato un disco praticamente perfetto. Prendiamone atto e ringraziamo gli dei del pop per simili meraviglie. Ancora una volta la Matinée colpisce in pieno il bersaglio.   --Troublezine