Although formed on the West Coast by three California-based college students, We Are Scientists officially took flight after frontman Keith Murray, bass player Chris Cain, and drummer Michael Tapper relocated to Brooklyn and began building a small, devoted following. After releasing three EPs and one independent album, the group signed with Virgin Records and releasing their major-label debut, With Love and Squalor, in early 2006. Although modestly popular in America, the album became a gold-selling hit in the U.K., where the band's sound -- part post-punk revival and part indie rock, with a touch of '80s synth-pop -- drew parallels to popular bands like the Editors, Franz Ferdinand, and the Killers.
In 2008, the group -- which was now just a duo comprising Cain and Murray -- put out their second full-length album, Brain Thrust Mastery. As before, the record found more popularity overseas, where it debuted at number 11 on the UK Albums Chart. The band toured heavily in support, playing a number of European festivals and opening shows in America for Kings of Leon. As We Are Scientists prepared to record a third album, former Razorlight drummer Andy Burrows joined the lineup, and the revised band unveiled itself with the release of 2010's Barbara.