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Interviews and Reviews

[Photo of the band]New Faces

Rolling Stone no. 660/661, July 8, 1993

By Ira Robbins

Photo: Jay Blakesberg

What's in a name? Scott Miller, who led Game Theory throughout the Eighties, isn't so sure. When mounting problems finally persuaded Miller to let the high-minded and adventurous power-pop combo expire, the San Francisco singer-guitarist turned his full attention to a not-altogether-different-sounding side project. The Loud Family debuted with Plants and Birds and Rocks and Things early this year; college radio, where Game Theory had enjoyed strong support, shrugged.

"I don't know if it would have helped to keep the name," Miller muses. The four years that have elapsed since Game Theory's final album, he notes, "is all the time it takes for everyone who knew about you who was DJ'ing at college radio stations to graduate."

Although Miller's new vehicle, named for the family in the Seventies TV documentary An American Family, bears many of Game Theory's assets -- Miller's catchy tunes, elusive lyrics and expressively imperfect voice and longtime producer Mitch Easter -- he sees significant distinctions. Referring to his new band mates, he says: "Some of these guys are really fluent with electronic manipulation of music; it's not ostentatious, but it accomplishes things I like to hear on records. Maybe it's all invisible to listeners."

Miller's songs don't require any exotic studio technology to be enjoyed; they're eccentric enough to be involving on their own merits. "The longer I have to write for a record," Miller says, noting this project's four-year run-up, "the more baroque the result is going to be, the more weird things I'll let myself get away with."

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