Unified Theory

Unified Theory

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Review

Longtime Blind Melon fans longing for a link back to the band will find some solace in Unified Theory, which features former Blind Melon members Brad Smith and Christopher Thorn. While new singer Chris Shinn does bear some resemblance vocally to Melon's late great singer Shannon Hoon (both sing in a high register and have a thing for ethereal lyrics), Unified Theory's self-titled debut shows that Shinn has brought a more modern rock sound to the proceedings, mixing Jeff Buckley and Radiohead with Smith and Thorn's retro rock stylings (Zep, Allmans, etc.). In the largely redundant and predictable alt-rock world of the early 21st century, Unified Theory's incredibly consistent, 12-track debut is a refreshing break from the norm; the explosive swirl of the album-opening "Cessna," the muscular riffing of "California," the ethereal "Fin," and the haunting "Not Dead" are all exceptional cuts. But don't be mislead, just because Unified Theory comes from Seattle and lists Zeppelin as an influence does not mean that they are merely aping the early-'90s "grunge" sound like everyone else seemed to be doing at the time. They've already created a sound all their own. Easily one of the best and most promising rock debuts since, well, Blind Melon's 1992 self-titled debut. ~ Greg Prato, Rovi