Album Reviews

Game Theory

Lolita Nation

Artist:     Game Theory

Album:     Lolita Nation

Label:     Omnivore Recordings

Release Date:     02/05/2016


First released in the era of hair metal and youth pop, Game Theory’s overflowing, everything-but-the-kitchen-sink masterwork didn’t do much by way of sales. Doesn’t matter. Structurally and lyrically, the band dove headfirst into musical territories first explored by Arthur Lee and Love 20 years earlier, and then fleshed out even further by groups like Wire and Minutemen.

And thanks to Omnivore, it’s back for a second, much-welcomed go-around.

Band frontman Scott Miller knew from the get-go he wanted a double album. He made every second of space worth listening to. Tracks range anywhere from six seconds to six minutes a piece, as the late Miller’s nasally, Jerry Garcia Terrapin Station-era tenor mysteriously dips in and out. By track two (“Not Because You Can”), you can already hear a rich stew of influences – some that influenced the band and others the band would influence. These include Big Star, the Replacements, the Bangles, the Pixies, ‘Til Tuesday, the Byrds and the Church.

While the 27 pieces of this album seem to just fly by, Lolita Nation is a jingle-jangle musical confectionery that’s all things San Francisco psychedelia without the freak out after effects. Notable tracks are “We Love You Carol and Alison,” “Mammoth Gardens,” “Chardonnay” and “The World’s Easiest Job.”

Omnivore doesn’t want to leave the band’s fans disappointed, so this set includes a second disc full of rough mixes and live cover tunes. showcasing Miller’s eclectic tastes (“Carrie Anne” by the Hollies, “Love Will Tear Us Apart” by Joy Division), but it’s not needed. Given that the majority of us likely passed on this work when it first came out, we’d be remiss to miss the opportunity this time around.

-Ira Kantor

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