Grand Unified Theory

Grand Unified Theory

Grand Unified Theory

Undetected Plagiarism

Coffee House Rock. I just made that up, and you may never hear it again, but it’s the first thing that popped into my mind when I put this on the player, and it stuck with me all though a week long holiday. It’s not about beat or melody or lyrical fireworks, but the sound from 3 grad student types out of Berkley. It’s quiet, small guitar driven music, opaque in sound, devoid of hooks or melody, filled with notes best just off the chromatic scale, hiding behind a fuzzy wall of noise.

Where should you listen to Grand Unified Theory to properly appreciate them? Imagine a smoky (well, clove cigarette smoky) latte bar, the band playing just loudly enough to distract but not bury your conversation. You’re chatting up a third-year philosophy major with a tongue stud and a henna Ankh on her breast. Camus? Tofu? NAFTA? You search for the topic that will get her to your place in a pliant state of mind. Grand Unified Theory is on stage, and they’ve slid into “Unclaimed Song #2,” a set of odd, small percussive sounds and a single finger piano line that drifts nowhere. It’s quiet enough you can hear other conversations, but focus — focus — talk to her. She looks anorexic and suicidal, but you’re not looking for a long-term relationship here. Ah, the music is picking up! G.U.T. has moved up to “She Turned Him/On On/Him” — it’s danceable, in a weird way. Maybe some preliminary physical contact will help the process, but she doesn’t dance. Hmm — perhaps she has a cat. Cats are always a good topic. Evocative, isn’t it? All this from an odd little record that sounds like an indie film sound track.

Mixed by the same guy who did Death Cab for Cutie (Aaron Prellwitz), and played by some Berkley folks with more educational credentials than most. I can’t say it will make any top 20 lists this year, even from your favorite late night DJ buddies, but there is a place for this sound, and used with some judicious preparation, it may do you well. Just don’t put it on for your next beer party; you won’t have the event you planned.

Undetected Plagiarism:

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