Jersey Beat Music Fanzine


by Joe Merklee

In a perfect world, Scott Miller would be a household name and Game Theory’s catalog would be as revered as that of any American band of the last 30 years. Sadly, Miller’s pop genius never found a large audience and he died tragically in 2013, just as there were rumblings of a new Game Theory album in the works.

The good folks at Omnivore Records are doing their part to see that the music reaches a wider audience, reissuing the entire Game Theory catalog. The fact that they’re releasing the albums at intervals, chronologically gives a sense of development and anticipation. If the debut LP “Blaze of Glory” heralded the arrival of a unique, bright new band and the early EP compilation,”Dead Center” showed flashes of brilliance, “Real Nighttime” is where they really took off. All the elements were in place for something special to occur- a master songwriter at the height of his powers, a stellar supporting cast and a like minded producer in Mitch Easter to capture it all for posterity. The end result is nothing short of a masterpiece. While there is a faithful reading of Big Star’s ”You Can’t Have Me” and “She’ll be a Verb” seems to be a compelling cousin to Big Star’s ”O,Dana”, this is the sound of a band acknowledging their influences and moving beyond them, finding their own voice. Soaring melodies,oblique lyrics, intricate arrangements and a striking variety to the material characterize the album. Whether it’s the ebullient, keyboard driven ”Waltz the Halls Always”, the rocking, epic “Friend of the Family”, the myriad twists and turns of “Rayon Drive” or the straight on heartbreak of “If And When it Falls Apart”, the songs all hit their mark, there isn’t a misfire in the bunch.

I’m happy to report that this reissue appears to be a real labor of love for all involved.. The sound quality is excellent and the packaging loaded with info. Of the 13 bonus tracks, the wonderful Michael Quercio collaboration “Girl With a Guitar” and the achingly beautiful “Any Other Hand” are the standouts and as good as anything on the album. A wonderful package from top to bottom.

I’ve been listening to “Real Nighttime” for 30 years and feel like I haven’t uncovered all that it has to offer. If I’m still around in another 30, I trust that I’ll still be listening to it. I don’t know what higher praise I can offer.

PS: Whether you’re a fan of Game Theory or just a fan of doing something good,allow me to encourage you to visit the following site: A wide variety of Game Theory shirts and stickers are available with proceeds going to Scott Miller’s widow and children. A worthy cause if ever there was one.Thanks.
 is an independently published music fanzine covering punk, alternative, ska, techno and garage music, focusing on New Jersey and the Tri-State area. For the past 25 years, the Jersey Beat music fanzine has been the authority on the latest upcoming bands and a resource for all those interested in rock and roll.

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