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On his latest record, the portent We Must Become the Pitiless Censors of Ourselves, John Maus delivers on the premise that he is "nothing except the making of music" with a highly imagined and singular artistic statement. Now, Maus has been dinged for both his artificiality and zealousness in the past, but here he embraces those polar qualities, somehow escaping with his authenticity intact. Take the mercilessly inciting "Cop Killer" or the mature goth-pop love song "Quantum Leap" for instance. Maus cleverly employs dialectics and genuine sarcasm throughout the album to illustrate his own ambivalent nature.

Backed only by bass, keyboards, and a drum machine, Maus flames through 32 minutes of baroque electro-pop like a hypomanic evangelist, his high-gravity baritone scaring the hell out of anyone listening. I heard that if you repeat "John Maus" three times in front of a mirror with the lights out that he will appear and steal away your firstborn. But seriously, if the rapturous sincerity of album closer "Believer" doesn't make you one, nothing will.