One of 2005's unexpected successes, We Are Scientists have had the unusual luxury of three years to record the "difficult second album". However, their follow-up to the 150,000-selling Love and Squalor seems unduly indebted to their peers: fellow New Yorkers the Strokes and particularly the Killers. After Hours is so close to the latter's All These Things That I've Done, you half expect Brandon Flowers to leap out of the stereo. We Are Scientists fare much better when imposing their guitars on the less predictable ends of 1980s pop. Lethal Enforcer has the kind of strolling bassline once heard on Paul Young records, but a chorus to die for. Spoken For nods to Joe Jackson, of all people, for a haunting anthem about fidelity. The metallic Chick Lit seems to have stumbled from a goth club circa 1987 - but it's another guilty pleasure from an album that sacrifices identity in a scramble for catchy tunes.
CD: We Are Scientists, Brain Thrust Mastery
Dave Simpson is a Guardian music critic and author