avoidance theory
Promise To The Refrigerator CD EP (SHMAT01)

Released: March 25, 2003

1. What You Said
2. Untitled Bells
3. Promise To The Refrigerator (play mp3)
4. Red And Whites
5. Bells Revenge
6. View From 300 Million B.C.

Recommended for fans of: Grandaddy, East River Pipe, Elliott Smith, Yo La Tengo, Low

"Promise To The Refrigerator" is the first offering from Avoidance Theory, a duo consisting of Bryan (guitarist in Tigerella) and Linda. Recorded using only 2 mics and a four-track at Shmat's House, the EP gets much of its milage out of various keyboards and strange home-made samples.

Avoidance Theory combines quirky lyrics with indie rock smarts on their 6 song EP, "Promise To The Refrigerator". With a penchant for both sweet melodies and science fiction experimentalism, the record runs the gamut from the whispery "Red and Whites" to the freaky, walkie-talkie static in "Bells Revenge". The title track "Promise To The Refrigerator" embodies the typical Avoidance Theory sound, which starts off with just vocals and an acoustic guitar and then procedes to launch layer upon layer of lo-fi walls of sound. The EP ends with "View from 300 Million B.C.", which might feel right at home on an East River Pipe album. The lesson here is that weirdness can be good, in measured doses. Just don't expect your kitchen appliances to all applaud at once at your choice in music.

Reviews / Press

South of Mainstream, January 2004 - SpodySingAlong

We've all had albums that we really enjoyed, wanted to play for friends and family, only to find they just didn't get what we thought was so great about the listening experience. It's maddening, because we want to share and we want them to enjoy it as much as we do. I often deal with that with my husband, whose taste runs to metal and goth - leaving him pretty much incapable of understanding the merits of your average Sebadoh or Neutral Milk Hotel tune. But to each his own.

I fear that fans of Avoidance Theory will have much the same experience when they play this short, experimental, and interesting CD for their less progressive friends and family. I liked it quite a bit, with it's interesting keyboard programming mixed with delicate acoustic guitar and gently shuffling rhythms. Add vocals delivered in whispered boyish/girlish delivery by Bryan and Linda, and you get a sweet little listen, part robotic, part sweet indie shuffle. More inhibited listeners, those who have grown accustomed to glossy production and voices stretched and layered over and over again may not approve or understand the sparse, thready beauty of these vocals...

Lost At Sea Online, May 2003 - Sarah Iddings

Somewhere between Joy Zipper and Low, you will find Avoidance Theory: steadily rolling along with emotive, sparse, cross-gender harmonies, sadcore inclinations, and their love for the late-era Beach Boys worn gingerly on their sleeves.

If you can subdue the roar of quiet discontent long enough, you can also hear hints of Sonic Youth among the whispers, and the reference serves the couple well. "What You Said" mirrors some of Kim’s most bleached-light moments, along the lines of "Little Trouble Girl." Likewise, the title track burns off nervous energy in the form of salty, experimental guitars and space-inspired noodling, content to flaunt their hushed power.

The Closer, "View from 300 Million BC" takes a respective bow to the density of The Cocteau Twins in an otherworldly, luxuriously weird bit of meandering. As unsettling as it is to have your emotions calmly played upon, the beauty embodied by their union serves as a commendable buoy.

In the closest rendition of Low this side of the chilly northern states, "Red and Whites" sets purposely off-key notes to soundtrack of plodding beats and broken dreams. In its finish, it swells with native intensity that shows the capable range to be found within angered silence. It’s amazing what this duo can do without even raising their voices – Avoidance Theory have harnessed emotional and vocal clarity with an impressive measure of finesse.

Erasing Clouds, April 2003 - Dave Heaton

The California duo Avoidance Theory made a promise to the refrigerator, but I'm not sure what it was. Actually it wasn't just a promise to their fridge, but to all fridges. And they broke the promise, whatever it was. That feeling that there's eerie things going on with and around everyday objects is at the heart of Avoidance Theory's Promise to the Refrigerator EP. The songs have a congenial creepiness; they're low-key, pretty pop songs along the lines of Elliott Smith, but there's a slight tone of weirdness always present. Laser beams and unidentified voices are lurking in the background throughout the EP, and over the course of two instrumentals ("Untitled Bells" and "Bells Revenge"), the whirings and buzzings of alien-infiltrated appliances battle it out. "Bring out the mesh ring tape and chair," Bryan sings on the first song, followed by "I'm still friends with you, right?" Um, yeah, we're still friends…what was that you were saying about your fridge? The Twin Peaks of bedroom pop, Promise to the Refrigerator soothes while it intrigues and slightly unsettles. It ends with "View From 300 Million B.C.," a gorgeous whisper across millennia that brings things to a comforting close even as it leaves you walking around singing, "I must believe the world is gone."

Other Reviews:

All Music Guide, February 2004 - Johnny Loftus
Smother.Net, Editor's Pick December 2003 - J-Sin
Indie Workshop, November 2003 - Grant
Agouti Music, November 2003 - Joel Edelman
The Bees Knees #19, October 2003 - Mike Turner
Indieville, July 2003 - Matt Shimmer
Mundane Sounds, June 2003 - Joseph Kyle
Hand Stitched Heart, June 2003 - John
Splendid E-zine, June 2003 - Steve Nelson
In Love With These Times, In Spite Of These Times, May 2003 - Kieron