*** Trevor O’Connor (guitar/vocals), Tom Chapman (bass), Connor Larkin (guitar/keys), and Scotty Trumpet (drums) make up the alternative/pop rock band from Morristown, New Jersey. It was them I met one June night at Leftfield NYC, where their calculated and experimental – youthful rock sound became an instant addiction to me. Their debut album “Post Grad”, has been one of my favorite albums this summer and one I keep going back to, each time discovering more and more I love about it!
Here’s my review of some of the tracks off the album, as well as an interview with Trevor O’Connor about the album!
(1) Post Grad – This is the first track and title track of the album; a great introduction to the record. It’s mellow, with a great melody and features lyrics that depict an honest narrative about college experience’s, and them coming to an end. – “The Party’s Over” – You also get a great first presentation of the bands professional, polished sound. A unique intro, catchy yet emotional lyrics, and dynamic changes flow so perfectly throughout this track. 4.5/5
(2) 24 – This could be my favorite track off the album. It’s a progressing song where Trevor turns 22 years old, then 23, then 24. It’s one of the most emotional songs off the album and one I connect with very well. Trevor’s incredibly honest lyrics about growing up and navigating the world are delivered through extremely memorable melodies and hooks that force you to sing along! 5/5
(5) Saint John – This track’s 70’s rock vibe and lyrics about an devilishly seductive woman, make it a classic! Again, Trevor’s lyrics shine through as he lectures his brain to make better judgements, despite what’s in front of him. 4/5
(6) What You Want – What You Want is another huge track off the album and is arguably their most popular one! Unique riffs and melodies intoxicate the listener, as Trevor’s singing and lyrics serenade at their very best. I find it impressive that the honesty, effectiveness, and creativity of their music is still apparent after six songs. I think this consistency is what makes the band so special! “You don’t always get what you want”, but you get everything with this track! 5/5
(8) Grimm – “Black just can’t describe. When the walls start closing in, DNA start’s to unwind.” “I count to nine, my breathe cuts short at six, this happens three times.” These are only snippets of lyrics from Grimm, Dr Scientist’s thoughtful song about death. To me, this song has so many elements for the listener to enjoy. A hard noised vibe with spooky hooks, lots of dynamic changes and powerfully creative lyrics make this such a great listen! 5/5
(9) Lobotomy – Okay, I lied, this is my favorite track off the album! Raw grit and inspiration start slow but blast through at the 2:06 mark! A great feeling of human potential and satisfaction are presented through this track. I also think it’s a great track to wind down the narrative of the album with. 5/5
(10) Sometimes the Bar Eats You – This is another one of Dr Scientist’s great tracks off Post Grad! Awesome, recognizable rock progressions fuel this song and are spiced up with fun hooks and emotional, catchy lyrics about drinking and love. You’ll definitely have this song on repeat! 5/5
(11) Found – What a great track to end the album with. Truly a great listen. This soft rock song is filled with heartache, love and happiness. Horns and humming begin a sweet crescendo bringing Post Grad to an end. 4.5/5
Total: 38/40 = 4.75/5 Average
***Like my review shows, Post Grad is such an impressive debut album from Dr Scientist! I highly recommend it to any fan of music! Rock/pop/emo lovers especially!
“Between writing melodies that have people asking ‘who’s the hot girl singing?’ and crafting hooks that have people genuinely angry that it won’t leave their skull- people are left to wonder ‘is it all part of his plan, or is this just an elaborate experiment?”
Here’s what Trevor O’Connor had to say about the album!
The Dr Scientist project seems like it’s been a long time coming for you guys as musicians, that being said, how do you feel the album came out? What makes you guys so happy about your sound?
A long time coming indeed, for me personally it had been at least 5 years since I completed a musical project. I had been in between bands for a while and never was able to finish a record but it was also important for me to woodshed and really work on my singing, guitar playing and songwriting in that period of time.
Dr Scientist has been a band since summer of 2013 and the record came out this March- we took a long time to really develop ourselves. PLUS the record took almost a year- HOLY CRAP WHAT A PROCESS. Now to actually answer your question, I am more than proud of this record. I did all the production and mixing myself so it was an extraordinarily difficult process. Ask anyone who produces their own record, its a mind f@#$! Long nights in the studio wondering if its all garbage or not. I had a lot of personal crap going on too that fueled me to drink a little too much and there were a few months where we really didn’t progress. I am thankful for my band being supportive and being like “hey a$$hole…are we gonna finish this record or what?”
We are very proud of it, we obviously look at the things we can improve on but when its all said and done we are truly proud. We really try to make interesting pop songs with the attitude and aggression of rock and I think we captured a good deal of that on the record. Its funny because a lot of times the songs are so upbeat that people forget that I am pouring my emo heart out in the song lyrically- but thats kind of our thing. I like to present the song in a sarcastic playful way because that’s how I am, I’d be more likely to be making fun of myself than feeling sorry for myself.
Where did your influences come from for this record?
Oh man. Hmmmmmmm. The songs were all written at different times so I could be here all day listing bands! Anywhere from Queens of the Stone Age to the Strokes, Alkaline Trio, Circa Survive, Coheed & Cambria-I also listened to a ton of folky, rootsy stuff like M Ward, My Morning Jacket, Bright Eyes. It’s funny how these influences are translated through us. Certain songs or bands we were listening to at the time can’t always be heard in our music but I’m sure people can hear something I don’t as well!
Now that college and this record are completed, are you feeling differently about things than before?
Ha! I feel like a completely different person. I was a confused mess for a while which can be heard on the record, as well as my affinity for the bottle at the time. I am more focused and at ease about a lot of things these days, and I am thankful that people (like you!) are starting to get in our corner. I think it’s funny how the record that is all about my angst and struggles was the thing that really kept me stable and somewhat focused- it’s out there for everyone to hear now and I feel true accomplishment. I have the utmost confidence in this band and I am truly excited for the future!
Is it this “calculation and experimentation” that produces your memorable hooks?
Yes- I think that it is. I am a very calculated songwriter but I always leave room for some sort of experimentation when we work it out with the band. I always have a vision and I’m usually able to have it realized, but having the band excited about the song and coming up with something I never would of thought of is the icing on the cake for me. I can always tell when everyone is excited about the song, it gives us all a crazy high and then it’s so easy to write parts for it. I always try to write interesting pop songs and my goal is to drag it though as many different genres as possible. In order to get there you need to experiment ;)
Whose the gentleman that graces the album cover? Did he have any influence on the album?
Hahahaha! YES! Long Live King Dougie! He is someone who comes into the studio I work at (The Original Music School) and he told me he got guitar lessons from George Harrison over the telephone.
He is kind of insane but in the best way. I think in a weird way he had some sort of influence on it because he’s become a central figure for our band almost like a mascot…or something. He is a bit of a mystery and we like to keep it that way. I will leave you with this quote though: “Hey Dougie what did you think of Trevor’s record?” “Oh it’s really good, but i’m kind of mad that he took my signature licks that I stole from George Harrison”
What’s next for Dr Scientist?
We are currently working on a 3-4 song EP that will most likely be out October. We have a music video in the works for an acoustic version of “Red Cups”. We are going to set up a bunch of shows for the fall and we already half the new record written.
We recently added our 4th member Connor who plays keys and guitar. The new record is going to be more expansive in the range of genres and vibes. We already have the heaviest song we’ve ever written and the most sensual song we’ve ever written slated for the new record. We are all excited to share the new music with everyone! Stay Tuned!
Support the artist and buy “Post Grad” here!