Dead Center (CD Reissue)

Game Theory

Omnivore Recordings 2015

Review by David Bowling


Game Theory was a power pop 1980’s band who moved their sound in an experimental and alternative rock direction though the use of quirky production and melodies. They released five studio albums and two EP’s, 1982-1990. It is the EP’s, which bring us to France and this Omnivore reissue.

During early 1984, the French record label Lolita became interested in releasing some music from the west coast power pop and alternative rock scene. This lead to the release of Game Theory’s Dead Center album, which combined their two EP’s, two new songs recorded for the French release, a cover of “The Letter,” plus some odds and ends. All these are a part of a 21 track expanded reissue, which should please their loyal fan base.

Their 1983 and 1984 EP’s, “Pointed Accounts Of People You Know” and “Distortion” ushered in a new era of sophistication and maturity to their career. “Blaze Of Glory,” “Metal And Glass Exact,” “Shark Pretty,” and “Nine Lives To Regel Five” are all excellent examples of what was called the Paisley Underground Scene that was active in small clubs and college campus’ during the 1980’s.

The bonus tracks present a number of previously unreleased tracks. The live versions of “Shark Pretty,” “Nine Lives To Regel Five,” and “Penny Things Won’t” give examples of their sound and musical persona. Add in covers of R.E.M.’s “Radio Free Europe,” Badfinger’s “No Matter What,” Roxy Music’s “Mother Of Pearl,” and the classic rock song “Gloria” and you have one od the better Game Theory concert experiences.

The music of Dead Center fills in a lot of holes in Game Theory’s legacy. It is music that holds up well and presents some of the best from the 1980’s west coast independent scene.

Rating: ***1/2