Tim Robbins’ “Bob Roberts” in reverse is probably the best short description you could give to Theory of Everything’s second CD, Evolution of the Art. Instead of a power-seeking demagogue though, humorist Darrin Drda (the voice of the band), not unlike his cartoons, through his songwriting relays a light-hearted variation of the concerns of the proactive left.
The folk-rock singer/songwriter and his posse, multi-instrumentalist David Tcheng, and equally witty satirist Paul Kotheimer, deliver a resounding and effective roundhouse targeting of the 51% of politically-charged America we all seem to know but won’t admit. Whether it’s the rockabilly ramble of anti-consumerist waste (“Deathmobile”), the bouncy pop song about voter marginalization (“Democrazy!”), or the slick nightclub jazz on media spin (“Never Gonna Buy It”), the band impart a fresh sense of social consciousness with only a slightly silly grin. Listeners are advised to “Hug a Republican” though “they might be quite reluctant because they’ll wonder if you’re gay.” The most memorable moment, though, is the out-of-place soft sincerity of “Maybe You Believe,” in which Drda asks what the value of peoples’ absolutes are “if they don’t lead to less suffering” (a theme which reaches beyond the political spectrum and is arguably universal).
Evolution of the Art is extremely intelligently crafted, but Drda and friends need to find a medium that fully embraces their agenda.