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We Are Scientists 

Brain Thrust Mastery (Astralwerks)

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We Are Scientists still seems like a bunch of fun-loving dudes who want to fill dance floors with their poppy post-punk. But the Brooklyn group — now down to a duo — has lost some of the spunk that sneaked into nearly every crevice of 2006's With Love and Squalor. Most of the generic songs Keith Murray and Chris Cain piece together on Brain Thrust Mastery sound excruciatingly synthetic. "Let's See It" is all formula, no substance, and the fuzzed-out guitars of "Tonight" recall Black Sabbath without the menace. But it's not all dismal. "After Hours," the single, is a nice blast from the past, and the murky, menacing bass and eerie ambience of "Ghouls" take We Are Scientists into darker territory. If only they'd stay there a while, instead of rushing out to become the next Fall Out Boy.

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