TVD Radar: Game Theory, Across the Barrier of Sound, in stores 3/20

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Throughout the 1980s, the California-based Game Theory was one of the most original (and critically acclaimed) indie-rock bands. Their blend of ’60s and ’70s pop influences such as Todd Rundgren and Big Star coupled with a post-punk energy led to a string of diverse albums — nearly all produced by Mitch Easter of Let’s Active.

For the past several years, Omnivore Recordings has painstakingly reissued each and every one of Game Theory’s original albums, with the addition of a slew of unreleased bonus tracks. The band’s effort, 1988’s Two Steps From the Middle Ages, was reissued in June 2017. That appeared to be the final chapter of their story, or was it? Hardcore fans still talk about Game Theory’s final line-up, which toured the West Coast but never released an album. Circa 1989-’90, the band was rejuvenated as leader Scott Miller was joined by the legendary Michael Quercio from The Three O’Clock (which had recently broken up). Other changes included longtime drummer Gil Ray moving over to guitar and keyboards, while Miller’s former Alternate Learning bandmate from the original template of Game Theory, Jozef Becker (True West, Thin White Rope), joined as the drummer. Jozef is the brother of Game Theory’s original keyboardist, Nan Becker.

Across the Barrier of Sound: PostScript, due for release on CD, LP and digital on March 20, 2020 on Omnivore Recordings, is the album that might have been. There’s a blend of home and studio and live recordings. There are songs that many fans haven’t heard unless they were lucky enough to catch a live show at the time — and some songs that reappeared in significantly different form on the debut album from Miller and Becker’s post-Game Theory band the Loud Family, Plants and Birds and Rocks and Things. Miller blended classic pop songwriting with groundbreaking art-rock influences, which is reflected in home recordings of Brian Eno’s “Needle in the Camel’s Eye” and The Nazz’s “Forget All About It.”

There’s a feast of Scott Miller-penned delights on the 14-song vinyl LP, and the CD includes an additional 10 unissued bonus tracks with Game Theory originals and songs originally recorded by artists such as Big Star and The Three O’Clock. Journey Across the Barrier of Sound and enjoy this PostScript to a great band’s career — a wonderful album in its own right.

TRACK LISTING
1. All My Loving (Home Recording)
2. My Free Ride
3. Go Back To Sleep Little Susie (Aerodeliria) (Home Demo)
4. Forget All About It (Home Recording)
5. Take Me Down (To Halloo)
6. The Second Grade Applauds (Home Demo)
7. Treat It Like My Own*
8. Inverness
9. Water (Remix)
10. Needle In The Camel’s Eye (Home Recording)
11. Idiot Son
12. Even You (Home Demo)
13. The Door Into Summer (Live)
14. Laurel Canyon (Reprise) (Home Demo)

BONUS TRACKS
15. Jimmy Still Comes Around (Home Demo)
16. Rose Of Sharon (Remix)
17. Back Of A Car (Radio Session)
18. The Come On (Home Demo)
19. A Day In Erotica (Home Recording)
20. Some Grand Vision (Home Demo)
21. Slit My Wrists (Home Demo)
22. Idiot Son (Home Demo)
23. Sword Swallower (Live)
24. Inverness (Home Demo)

All Tracks Previously Unissued Except*
LP Consists of Tracks 1–14

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