Three years later, Allison's harshly futuristic Science project contracts her vision but expands her mystery, its ten tracks standing as lonely and bare as windblown trees on the tundra. Allison's formidable soulfulness seems frozen, and as the ice queen moves further into terra incognita, she goes back to her record collection for classic -- if obscure -- influences from two decades past ("Performance" snags the repetitive bass line from Psychic TV's "Ov Power"). The only hints of life in this wintry landscape are Allison's breathy, emotive voice and her newfound grasp of experimentalism. That pairing gets honed by the production strengths of electro pioneers Two Lone Swordsmen and Flaming Lips/Mercury Rev overseer Dave Fridmann, who imbue warnings like "You Can Be Replaced" with chilling, post-electroclash CG effects. Allison's remote presence is alternately distant and enchanting, making for a seesaw of prettiness and scariness. The decidedly un-Partridge Familiar "I Think I Love You" comes closest to falling into a happy lilt, but robotically repeats the title as clinically as a list of chemicals.
We Are Science is so icily austere it nearly suffers from freezer burn, plopping Allison in a snowbank of cold synths and frigid electronic percussion. But the real star here is the forbidding, disconsolate atmosphere, as dangerous as life above the Arctic Circle, but occasionally as lovely as the northern lights.