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Blaze of Glory [Bonus Tracks] [CD] [Digipak]
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  • Photographers: Robert Toren; Jennifer Beecroft Polishook.
  • Game Theory's 1982 debut is about as D.I.Y. as it gets. Blaze of Glory was recorded in leader Scott Miller's old bedroom at his parents' house in Sacramento, CA, and you can just barely hear his mom running the vacuum cleaner downstairs at one point. Not able to afford printing costs for jackets once the records were pressed, the group simply slipped the discs into white plastic garbage bags with a Xeroxed sheet of paper. Despite the funky homemade feel of the album, Blaze of Glory is a clear signpost towards the hyperactively literate art pop of Game Theory's later albums. The songwriting is extremely inconsistent, with a couple of songs, "Stupid Heart" and "Tin Scarecrow," that are just plain terrible, and the overall feel is along the lines of the manic synth pop of early Devo, or, perhaps more overtly, Sacramento new wave legends the Twinkeyz. Yet although Blaze of Glory sounds far more dated than any of Game Theory's other records, it has a handful of early gems. The giddy and galloping "Date With an Angel" is one of Miller's sunniest sounding songs, and the jangly guitar-led arrangement predates the Paisley Underground-influenced sound of 1985's Real Nighttime. Even better, the wry collegiate angst of "Bad Year at UCLA" and the stark "It Gives Me Chills" are two of Miller's best early songs, and the jubilant "Sleeping Through Heaven" has remained a fan favorite. All 12 songs from Blaze of Glory ended up on the 1994 compilation Distortion of Glory. Re-recorded versions of "Bad Year at UCLA" (with the grammatical mistake in the first verse corrected) and "Sleeping Through Heaven" were released on 1990's Tinker to Evers to Chance. ~ Stewart Mason
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