We Are Scientists

Brain Thrust Mastery

EMI; March 2008

The follow-up to 2005’s With Love and Squalor finds the adorably cheeky lads of We Are Scientists down a man (the threesome lost drummer Michael Tapper last year) and up a whole lot of production tricks. Much like its predecessor, Brain Thrust Mastery is heavy on the hooks, chock-full of dance-beat ditties that fluctuate between ’80s throwback pop and electro rock la Moving Units or Ladytron (sans the requisite lame pants). The end result is a mish-mash of strong hits and near misses that starts strong but fizzles out before the oddly jazzy final track, “That’s What Counts,” even hits the halfway mark. Mastery rocks its hardest when frontman Keith Murray gets all dissonant and jaded (“Ghouls,” “Tonight”), and falls flat when things go all Pet Shop Boys (“Lethal Enforcer”), but the stuff in between (namely “After Hours” and “Chick Lit”) is still well worth the effort.

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