Pachyderm Studio is the birthplace of some alt-rock classics, including Nirvana's In Utero and PJ Harvey's Rid of Me. So it's no surprise that an enterprising young group would want to book time there, as did Tora! Tora! Torrance! to craft its sophomore effort, A Cynics Nightmare. The title is right on target -- any act with three exclamation marks in its name isn't all that bitter. But Nightmare is really the mark of a new band; the Minneapolis quintet has undergone a number of lineup shifts since forming in 2000, and a newfound sense of maturity is evident. Mixing the more credible aspects of punk and metal, TTT approaches its bratty output with grad-student seriousness, refusing to pander to the cheesier elements of its chosen genres. Vocalist Nick Koenigs provides the necessary counterbalance to the music; his tortured yowl and in-concert antics keep TTT's boisterous spirit intact.