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by Luke Baumgarten and Carey Murphy & r & & r & We Are Scientists & lt;a href= & quot; & amp;offerid=78941 & amp;type=3 & amp;subid=0 & amp;tmpid=1826 & amp; & quot; & With Love and Squalor & lt;/a & 2.5 STARS & r & Named after a J.D. Salinger story, With Love and Squalor situates its lyrics at the intersection of young Michael Chabon and dumbed-down Charles Bukowski. They're boozy, arrogant, self-referential, blithely innocent, delighted to be writing songs about chicks. "The night is young / I'm blacking out, but it's been fun." Yawn. "Like I would really love to kiss you / But I guess I'm in no condition." It's the soundtrack for a college hipster bacchanal. Boring as hell.

If they'd put half the time into lyrics they put into crafting these wonderfully danceable, punky hooks, we might have something. By the time we get "Breaking both my hands / telling me to take it like a man" though, I can't figure out if someone just got dumped or realized he'd put out a forgettable album.

Five tracks in, I finally connected with the lyrics: "It's all out of context / there's nothing I'm into." Then, one track later, "... not saying much of anything." It's like they put a microphone right in my brain. -- Luke Baumgarten

P. O. D. & lt;a href= & quot; & amp;offerid=78941 & amp;type=3 & amp;subid=0 & amp;tmpid=1826 & amp; & quot; & Testify & lt;/a & .5 STARS & r & It's about time somebody did some testifying. And I'm gonna be the one doing it. So here goes: P. O. D.'s newest album reveals the depths of despair that should haunt any artists willing to parody themselves this way. Not that anyone really cares about rap-metal fusion anymore. I mean, can you name three bands that wouldn't take offense at being categorized in this fashion? The musicians still wallowing in the riff-heavy sludge of this nonsense deserve to produce the kind of garbage they produce. Here's the first really terrible album of the year.

What made this band at one point interesting (not good, just interesting) was that they played a kind of Christian rock that didn't, well, suck on principle. But that same sound here isn't interesting anymore. Even a cameo by Matisyahu can't save "Roots in Stereo." And the first single of the album "Goodbye for Now" ought to be renamed "Goodbye until we learn to write better songs." Keep testifying, boys -- it's all you have left. Amen. -- Carey Murphy
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