The Out Circuit is the shoegaze/hardcore project of Frodus bassist Nathan Burke. Pierce the Empire With a New Sound is his first record since 2003, and boasts collaborations with members of Thrice and Roadside Monument. Opener “Come Out Shooting” attempts to do just that, adding synths to a Refused-style jam, while “Across the Light” utilizes layers of ambient sounds with dreamy keyboards. Due to inconsistency in sound and slickly produced vocals, however, much of the album comes across cheesy, particularly the near-goth “Passchendaele” and the adult-contemporary-feeling “We.” Despite a handful of solid ideas, Pierce the Empire is ultimately a pet project for a select indie audience.