Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Game Theory - Blaze Of Glory


Game Theory’s 1982 debut Blaze Of Glory is the first of the critically acclaimed pop band’s LPs and EPs to be remastered and newly packaged with additional tracks and extensive liner notes. The re-released album, pressed on grapefruit pink vinyl, features the original 12 tracks and includes a download card for live performances, music from lead vocalist-guitarist Scott Miller’s earlier band Alternate Learning, and some of his solo efforts. At 27 tracks, this version of Blaze Of Glory is a lot to digest, but ultimately augments the late musician’s legacy. 

For those of us who discovered Game Theory via the group’s later efforts like The Big Shot Chronicles or Two Steps From The Middle Ages, the songs on Blaze Of Glory might initially seem jarring. Nothing is as exquisite as “Where You Going, Northern” or “Wyoming,” but given a chance, these adventurous cuts win over the listener. Miller always seemed fascinated by abrupt tempo changes and oddball intros, and that approach can be found on catchy songs like “Something To Show,” “Bad Year At UCLA,” and “Date With An Angel.” 

“The Girls Are Ready” and “White Blues” are rapid-fire New Wave tunes fueled by Nan Becker’s keyboards playing, while the funk overtones of “Sleeping Through Heaven” are reminiscent of Prince. Miller was equally adept at injecting vulnerability or venom into his lyrics; asking, “Is it okay that I don’t know what to do?” on the acoustic-based “It Gives Me Chills,” and noting “You thought you knew what was right and wrong/But you’ve been breaking the law all along” on the rebellious “The Young Drug.”

The best of the bonus tracks include the primitive punk of Alternate Learning’s “What’s The Matter” and “Beach State Rocking,” a live version of “Bad Year At UCLA” that has an extended instrumental intro, and Miller’s touching solo effort “She’s A Woman Of The Wind.” Judging from this new take on Blaze Of Glory, fans can expect more treats from the other remastered Game Theory efforts. 

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