With its latest effort, the Velvet Teen continues to follow an artistic trajectory similar to Radiohead's. Starting out in 2000 as an artsy-poppy-emotive rock group, the ambitious band spends no time looking backward for inspiration. From the pop perfection of Comasynthesis and The Great Beast February to the dramatic darkness of Out of the Fierce Parade and the guitar-less artistic ambition of Elysium, each successive release features more complex compositions, more abstruse lyrics and more layered production. With Cum Laude, the evolution and experimentation continue. Leaving the High Life for the iLife, head teen Judah Nagler leads his associates on an electro-rock exploration of politics and romance. The guitar has returned, but it takes a back seat to IDM-ish electronics and processed vocals. At times the Teen seems like that exasperating adolescent who tries on looks, personalities and values with cavalier inattention to his true identity. But after a few listens, you'll find that beneath the haze of sequencers and vocoders lies another carefully wrought and sincerely poignant record from a band that does literate, expressive pop far better than most.