This week’s band of the week, In Theory, moved from their local Los Angeles California music scene to national attention by working the angles and attacking publicity from the ground floor using grass-roots’ approaches. Of course it didn’t hurt to catch the attention of producers Vincent Bitetti and Barry Fassman while playing at a private post-Grammy party. This is It, their first album with the Shelter From the Storm Records label available June 5, is the culmination of all that hard work and is an interesting blend of pop melodies, rock edginess, and emotionally charged, slice-of-life lyrics.
The first single “A New Medication” has been making a splash on LA’s K-ROQ. It was inspired by a friend’s struggle with alcoholism, and speaks of watching a person drown in their own addictions. Polished and rocking with guitar riffs and lots of entwined layers, it’s the first taste of what promises to be a break-out record. The song is ambiguous enough to be open to interpretation and could be a wake-up call for anyone suffering a loss or trying to self-medicate.
The songs on This is It may not all be biographical of the songwriter, but they are certainly observational. In a recent press release lead singer Theo Gersht divulges that “Love Me or Leave Me” was inspired by an episode of the OC, an indulgence the whole band enjoys. It has that hip, yet sweet, feel to seems apropos to the inspiration as the lyrics draw a figurative line in the sand.
In contrast “Why Didn’t You Come” is extremely biographical. Gersht explained in a recent interview “We use to draw all the local high school kids and it would be a lot of fun, but at a certain point we were playing so much that the kids would all be, ‘Oh Yeah, we’ll come.’ People would start saying they would show up, but then not come.” The song calls out those who brushed them off, something I don’t think they’re have to worry about anymore.
“Murder He Wrote” is another strong stand-out track. Creatively presented in the tone of a mystery with clever word play, it’s lyrically entertaining and musically, like all the tracks on This is It, a hybrid blend of pop, rock, emo, and all things contemporary. In the above mentioned interview Gersht introduced me to the term he uses to describe their sound – Melodic-rock. “It’s melodic-rock. A lot of people try to box us into a genre and we really don’t like that. You’ve probably heard people call us pop-punk or alternative. Nowadays there are so many different genres and we take influences from all over the place.”
Applying labels to this young band is harder than you might think and really not all that effective. It’s a powerful sound that refuses to be put into any corner or box. It’s very contemporary and definitely more melodic than the current alt releases. Suffice to say if you enjoy contemporary and edgy, you’re going to enjoy In Theory and This is It.