Math rock is one of the genres I have most recently gotten into, to such an extent that I would nominate the album Mirrored by Battles as one of the top candidates for album of the year (2007). Of course, that’s not the only good math rock CD of this year; I know of at least one other, In Theory & Practice by The 1000 Year Plan. While not quite at the level of Mirrored, In Theory & Practice is still a wonderful album without a weak song on it.
In theory, given that it’s math rock, you might expect the music to be cold, impersonal, unwelcoming. In practice, however, the only really unwelcoming thing about this album are the annoyingly long (and somewhat stupid, if you ask me) track titles. Otherwise, the music, while still lower in emotional content than non-math rock, actually does manage to speak to the listener on multiple levels, making for an interesting listen, to say the least.
In theory, again given that it’s math rock, you might expect the music to be technical. In practice, you would be correct. The musicians definitely know what they are doing, and they execute it flawlessly. And thus what is just an “interesting listen” before becomes a captivating listen. While technical skill does not a good album make, it can certainly help, and this is one of those cases.
In theory, you’d expect any band to at least have some clear influences. In practice, that holds true for the 1000 Year Plan. While I can’t namedrop references as I’m still new to the genre, In Theory & Practice sounds like most other math rock I’ve heard. There definitely is a sense of a lack of originality to the album, to be perfectly honest.
In theory, that makes it somewhat unessential, as it’s been done before and it’s been done better. In practice, on the other hand, the strong songwriting means that should appeal to all math rock fans. I can’t see it becoming a landmark of the genre or spreading out into the mainstream of music, but for the realm within which it exists, it is definitely very good and worth hearing.
In theory, music like this would earn fans for itself. In practice, however, I would recommend to the band to use the internet a bit more; a Google search of “the 1000 year plan” and “in theory and practice” came up with zero results.