Math and Physics Club - Movie Ending Romance EP

matinée 059  /  July 2005
Math and Physics Club - Movie Ending Romance EP
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Math and Physics Club - Movie Ending Romance EP

matinée 059  /  July 2005

Accomplished second single from one of 2005's most impressive new bands. The initial pressing of the debut Math and Physics Club EP 'Weekends Away' sold out immediately, thanks in part to tremendous support from hip radio stations KEXP and WOXY plus a groundswell of underground buzz around the band. In reviewing the EP, venerable music publications pulled out all the punches, with All Music Guide calling it "a four track gem that manages to escape any charges of imitation," Losing Today concluding "a classic all said and done," Pitchfork reporting "sounds like The Clientele performing the first Smiths record after a Saturday night alone with Go-Betweens b-sides," and Splendid hailing Math and Physics Club "a great new band." With this new EP, the Seattle quintet proves the success of its debut was no fluke. Lead track 'Movie Ending Romance' is one of those seamless summertime janglers with soaring guitars, lots of tambourines and a precise drumbeat that will put a skip in the step of indie hipsters across the globe. 'White and Grey' is an earnest song featuring exquisite strings, keyboards, and wailing harmonica plus some magnificently poignant vocals. 'Graduation Day' is a swinging pop hit with more jangling guitars, tambourine, violin, and great lyrics—perfect for summertime beach parties and a possible contender as the best MAPC song to date. Closing track 'You're So Good To Me' is a Pacific Northwest take on a Beach Boys classic and a mighty fine one at that. While recalling some of the best bands of yesterday, Math and Physics Club have secured a spot for themselves among today's indie elite. Demonstrating increasingly impressive songwriting, these four new songs should help to solidify them as one of the best discoveries of 2005. The band is currently working on its debut full-length scheduled for release early next year. Limited to 2000 copies in custom minijacket sleeve.

  1. Movie Ending Romance
  2. White and Grey
  3. Graduation Day
  4. You're So Good To Me


The Seattle-based pop group Math and Physics Club may have only released two EPs so far in their career, but already they sound determined to write and record songs that people will remember, songs that listeners will hold dear to their hearts. And while it's always best to err on the side of caution when praising a group that's only just begun, judging by their first two releases they seem well on their way. Their latest 4-song EP, Movie Ending Romance, may be even better than their first (Weekends Away, released earlier this year), though it's hard to tell because they're both so strong. Where Weekends Away for me occasionally recalled MAPC's fellow Matinée musicians the Lucksmiths, in the literate, sensitive approach to catchy pop songs, Movie Ending Romance is more openly evocative of the Smiths, perhaps only because of lead singer Charles' singing style here. Influences don’t matter, I know, I know, but at the same time it is important to mark the fact that while Math and Physics Club's songs occasionally indebted to a whole host of intelligent, open-hearted, and classic pop groups of the past, they also strongly hold their own next to the songs they recall. In other words, the feeling that Math and Physics Club is aiming to write classic pop singles may be merely because these songs are so damn good that throwing the word classic around doesn't seem disingenuous. The three original songs here – the title track, "White and Grey", and "Graduation Day" – represent the art of songwriting at its best. And then the EP closes with an absolutely dynamite cover of the Beach Boys' "You're So Good to Me", which has its own unique energy, and an intriguing sound that answers the never-before-asked musical question, "what would have happened if the Smiths and the Beach Boys had formed a supergroup?"   --Erasing Clouds
Life must be great for the Math and Physics Club, their sunny dispositions, hopeful outlook and wholly optimistic take on life coupled with the most uplifting guitar jangles since McGuinn and Marr make for a life worth living, even through the moments of desolation, melancholy and self loathing. I don’t really know how they get to be this way, maybe it’s where they are from, maybe it’s just where they are at, I don’t know how and I don’t know why, but I do know this: life without the Math and Physics Club would be a much duller place. Picture open sun kissed palm tree lined boulevards, picture glowing sunsets over endless white beaches and crystal aqua marine seas, feel the wind in your hair as you ride through the Californian sunshine in your soft top convertible and you’re getting to be some of the way there. I cannot imagine any other band making a song about the last five seconds of love sound so utterly entrancing and alluring. It almost makes you long for those moments of desperation as your whole raison d’etre crumbles around you, it makes you realise that these are the times when you are most alive, when you feel the most, when you are either coasting on the waves of life or being dragged under the rip tide by them. This record has the ability to make you smile through the tears, to make you want to swing around the room with gay abandon, it’s a sunset walk on a beach, it’s an indie pop disco dance to your favourite band, it’s a kiss in the rain and a glance across a crowded room from the one you love, it is, without doubt the perfect summer record.   --Friends of the Heroes
Math and Physics Club started as a basement duo of longtime friends vocalist/guitarist Charles Bert and guitarist James Werle when they went away to college in Bellingham. It wasn't until a couple years after graduation, in the summer of 2004, when James (freshly back from the Peace Corps) and Charles started the project back up again. They soon met drummer Kevin Emerson, who had moved out from Boston looking for a band. Bass player Ethan Jones saw the band play at an EMP open mic, and secret weapon violinist Saundrah Humphrey joined up shortly thereafter. With a solid group intact, it wasn't long before songs were perfected and ready for release. With the interest of several labels piqued, the band jumped at the chance to release their first two elegant and enjoyable extended play discs on the same label as their heroes, The Lucksmiths. Matinée Recordings, based in Santa Barbara, were just as excited as James and Charles to have signed the five-piece. The band is the first American band in the last five years signed to the international-underground pop label (and remain the only active one — all the other US-based bands with releases on Matinée have broken up). It makes a weird kind of sense. Listening to them brings me back to the freshly squeezed pop-pulp days of Orange Juice and other Scottish bands like Josef K in the early 80's. The eight songs spread over these two EPs show the developed work of an assured, mature melancholy pop band. It wasn't long before their songs received airplay on KEXP (thanks to John Richards), and they had a strong following by the end of 2004. Over the course of 2005, they've grown from only about six songs to play live, to playing for raving crowds at both Bumbershoot and the Sasquatch Music Festival. In addition, they've played up and down the West Coast opening for The Lucksmiths (a dream realized). Add in dates around their homebase of Seattle and Olympia opening for John Vanderslice and Calvin Johnson and you've got yourself one happy Math and Physics Club. Weekends Away was released in early 2005 and features the gloriously adolescent "Sixteen And Pretty" ("The smell of grass and cigarettes — pirouettes around the lawn — I was just like any other boy"). Bert's voice obviously draws much of its influence from Morrissey, but never gets despairing or seeps in self-parody. He merely uses the style to ruminate about "Love, Again" and gloating humorously about "When We get Famous." The high points on the recent follow up EP, Movie Ending Romance, are Humphrey's increased use as a player, making the sorrowful "Graduation Day" ("I should have learned to stay away") so compelling, and her riffing on the great cover of the Beach Boys' "You're So Good To Me" ends the set superbly. These eight songs may get occasionally unhappy, but they never get unhealthy. The humble but quietly striking playing of the band makes Bert's little stories enjoyable on multiple plays. The delightful packaging style is a treat, too.   --Three Imaginary Girls
Math and Physics Club's first EP on Matinée was a pleasant surprise, youngsters from Seattle playing classic Sarah brand indie pop. Very tuneful, warm and inviting. Their second single isn't a surprise but it is equally as pleasant. Movie Ending Romance features the same winning blend of UK and Aussie indie pop melodicsim and literate romance. The title track is the highlight, a short and sweet love song that would have slotted in well on an early Belle & Sebastian EP. The stately "White and Grey" (love that harmonica solo - a perfect pastoral touch) and the almost rollicking "Graduation Day" give it a run though. To cap things off they take a spirited run through the Beach Boys' &"You're So Good to Me," giving the song some sonic embellishments and warmth Brian was too rushed to attempt back in the day. In all, another exceedingly nice single.   --All Music Guide
If you thought that the quality quotient down at Matinée was every gonna wane, think again. This is the best single they've released in a while, and,amongst a throng of very great singles, too. 'Movie Ending Romance' by Math and Physics Club is quite simply stunning, and stunningly rips off The Smiths too, but that's okay by me. The title track is an arch sideways shout to lost love, with the great line, 'These lines on my face betray me, they're deeper lately', something I think we can all identify with. But best track here among the four is 'Graduation Day', previously released, but very much worthy of inclusion here. 'Sing me a song about the last five seconds of love', sings Charles, and he even pronounces 'tongue tied' in a north west UK accent, bless him.   --Tasty
I was late to the party with Math and Physics Club's debut EP, Weekends Away, and then DOA's late-2005 hiatus caused me to slide perilously behind on reviewing the follow-up EP, Movie Ending Romance. I'm surprised by now the band hasn't released two full-length albums and been featured on the cover of Billboard. But with a full-length still, apparently, in the works, I feel confident I still have time to allert other late-comers to the pure pop bliss that is the Math and Physics Club. This Seattle indie-pop band now has two delightful four-song EPs under its belt, and each is a delicious little slab of song and sweet songwriting. Movie Ending Romance has a bit more of a serious feel to it, with strong production that produces light and sweet songs without going completely over to the head-bobbing pop hooks. It provides a nice compliment to Weekends Away in that regard. The title track opens the album as perhaps the perfect missing link between The Smiths and Belle & Sebastian. Charles, the lead singer, has a nice, less-morose Morrissey feel to his voice, and the song's light, airy sound compliments that with shimmering guitars to boot. On "White and Grey," Charles sounds vaguely British, as the soft song takes a more gentle and melancholy feel. The violin, soft keys, and even touches of harmonica are a nice addition to the song. "Graduation Day" feels even more like a Smiths tune, as Charles sings "I'll sing you a song about the last five seconds of love" over shimmering guitar and a light, poppy beat. The EP closes with a cover of the Beach Boys' "You're so Good to Me," done in a very lo-fi and sweet version, perhaps even sweeter than the original. This is extremely pleasant stuff, and the EP's more melancholy bent fits nicely in the middle of winter, while Weekends Away feels like a better summertime release. The band plans on releasing its full-length in the Spring, so get on board now.   --Delusions of Adequacy
Now known as "Math and Physics" to me, as they seem to be to the bloke at Rough Trade who apologised with only mild grace for flogging copies of their singles in the wrong sleeves, the band formerly known to this blog as M&PC fulfilled with this tune the not inconsiderable potential of their first "Weekends Away" EP, whose title track dealt squarely with the true undercurrent of relationships in a nutshell, frankly ("you've got your baggage / and I've got mine… you do all the driving"), even if some had it down as just a jaunty popsong. With "Movie Ending Romance", both musically and lyrically there are sprightly, poppy passages and wonderful, sadder, reveries, the latter lit up by some lovely, baby guitar lines that just pop up in an early-Belle & Seb way inamidst the singer's gentle Mozzerisms... yet you can still somehow tell that for once you're listening to a like-minded group of friends rather than the usual lonely bloke with a drum machine. "Movie Ending Romance" is just one of those singles that chooses to delight, rather than plod, at every turn, as they show off how much their songwriting has come on in such a short space of time: but without losing an ounce of the charm that made their first EP a breath of fresh air. I haven't been abused for a while for slagging off the Beach Boys, so as it's Christmas - a time for brutal truth, in my eyes - I will point out here that Math and Physics do not need to be doing BB covers ("You're So Good To Me") when their own songs are frankly much better. That, and the possibly irrelevant observation that "God Only Knows" is the most overrated song ever not recorded by the Beatles, should start up the e-mails again...   --In Love With These Times In Spite Of These Times
If you had any question about the current vitality of the twee scene, picking up a few wonderful new releases from Matineé records out of sunny Santa Barbara, California will assuage any doubts. Movie Ending Romance from Math and Physics Club is one of my three faves from the dazzling current Matineé roster, along with label mates The Young Tradition and The Lucksmiths. Math and Physics Club’s brand of boppy gentle indiepop evokes 80’s mope favourites The Smiths and Billy Bragg after he fleshed out his sound. Singer Charles has a voice not entirely like Morrissey – fey and British despite the band’s Seattle/Olympia origins. The jangly Rickenbacker guitars are very pretty, and the band rounds out their sound beautifully with violins that make me pine for another Seattle band, the now defunct Carissa’s Weird. This isn’t just the kind of randomly meandering, slightly out of tune, amateurish violin sound that you might expect from an indie band, either; violinist Saundrah make a phenomenal contribution with her very clever, classical-inspired parts, highly proficient technique and exquisite pizzicato sections. On an album this short and uniformly excellent it may be pointless to point out specific songs but I’m going to; the title track and opener, “Movie Ending Romance” is really the hit song on the collection, hoppy and boppy with the nicest guitar parts that remind me of what Johnny Marr did for Billy Bragg. White and Grey is a wistful, melancholy ballad featuring more very nice piano parts and harmonica that recalls Billy’ Joel’s Piano Man. Despite their fey sound, Math and Physics Club also prove they’ve got balls for daring to cover the Beach Boys You’re So Good To Me. They don’t come close to Brian Wilson’s perfect production, who could? But they do put a really nice fresh spin on it with super nice driving 8th note violin parts; in their able hands, the song sounds more like Beulah’s first album than The Beach Boys Since I started doing reviews for Left Hip I hear so many albums that often I’m begging for them to end as they drag on to 13, 14, 15 songs; not Math and Physics Club, at a mere twelve minutes, at the end of this disc I was begging for more. Begging! You’ll find yourself in the same predicament when you hear their near-perfect pop. There should be a warning on this album: Highly addictive. May cause or encourage twee lifestyles. Movie Ending Romance is one of my favorite albums of the year, no question. Math and Physics have never been so much fun!   --Left Hip
What’s in a name, as some bloke or other from Stratford-upon-Avon once asked. Well, in Math and Physics Club’s case, there’s clearly not a burning desire to be rock gods or dance floor behemoths if truth be told. If the name screams ‘indie-schmindie weaklings’ to you, then you’re pretty much on the nose with your assertion as these four lovely jangly tunes attest. The title track of the EP is appropriately lovelorn and White And Grey makes good use of violinist Saundrah’s graceful contribution but it’s Graduation Day that takes the honours. It would be easy to criticise it for sounding unquestionably like their Matinée label mates The Lucksmiths covering four Smiths songs at the same time, but that would deny the fun of trying to work out which four songs they actually are. As if to prove their fearlessness of music’s supposedly sacred cows they then have a go at the Beach Boys’ You’re So Good To Me and make a bloody good job of it too. By any other name, Math and Physics Club would still sound as sweet.   --Sounds XP
Even though the rest of the band lives in Seattle, the lead singer lives here in Olympia, so I'm claiming Math & Physics Club as ours. And we're lucky to have them. Their new disc, "Movie Ending Romance" EP, is a delicious little slice of Belle & Sebastian-y twee-pop heaven. My only initial beef with it was that because it was a four-song EP, there just wasn't enough of it.   --The Olympian
Math and Physics Club also turn out with a four track EP for Matinée. Movie Ending Romance is full of sweet soft guitar sounds with a more than faint Smiths infatuation; never more clearly defined than on the rather lovely ‘Graduation Day’. The sound of summer afternoons skipping school and lazing out on the hill by the castle, luxuriating in the thrill of the dream of never to be kissed lips. In other words, the sound of tremulous heartbeats leaping and dropping in time to the slipslide of lost weekends. Pretty and wonderful.   --Tangents