FAME Review: Big Dipper - Big Dipper Crashes on the Platinum Planet
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Big Dipper - Big Dipper Crashes on the Platinum Planet

Big Dipper Crashes on
the Platinum Planet

Big Dipper

Almost Ready Records - ARR-027

Available from Midhaven.com.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker
(progdawg@hotmail.com)

Big Dipper has a history, and, when Merge Records released a 3-disc retrospective of their work (which included quite a few tunes not released while the lads grunted and sweated for Epic Records), the band reunited to tour behind it, a venture which came off so well that the lads decided a new studio release wouldn't be a bad idea at all, and thus Big Dipper Crashes on the Platinum Planet. The CD's a continuation of their somewhat proggy-flavored interstellar pop overdrive. Social commentary has always been an ace card in this band's tongue-in-cheek deck, and the trait comes out just as strongly as before. Think of Klaatu meeting the Carpenter's middle-class feel-good while encountering mid-period Kinks and later humorous / semi-humorous acts like Gruppo Sportivo and Tin Huey, and you'll be somewhat in the arena.

The song titles (see below) alone are often hilarious and open a window on the band's cheeky effervescence. Twangy guitars dominate while Bill Goffrier and mates tend to a Boy Scouty style of singing, albeit a troop that's not exactly following the playbook and whose merit badges are probably questionable, maybe even clever fakes wrought by mischievous fellows who just grin and chuckle when uncovered…then go back to smoking a joint and planning their next goof on sacred social mores. Big Dipper is a great example of what was going on in the friendlier fringe acreage of the punk / alt / New Wave movement and even demonstrates a bit of Talking Heads, who were themselves often satirical, as you may well recall (man, I miss those guys!).

It's no exaggeration to say that the 80s reinvigorated a number of sections of the 60s/70s rock thesaurus that were getting just a tad tired and trite, overworked and too self-serious, often (especially when it came to arena rock) internal parodies, and Big Dipper Crashes on the Platinum Planet goes a long long way to helping prevent that occurring in the current era as it works its way to what I suspect will one year surprise us all with an unexpected new manifestation. Meanwhile, this will keep you quite happy.

Track List:

  • Lord Scrumptious (Bill Gottfrier)
  • Robert Pollard (Gary Waleik)
  • Princess Warrior (Oliphant / Gottfrier / Waleik)
  • Hurricane Bill (Bill Gottfrier)
  • Market Scare (Oliphant / Gottfrier)
  • Happy New Year (Bill Gottfrier)
  • Pitbull Cruiser, Blue (Gottfrier / Waleik)
  • Forget the Chef (Oliphant / Gottfrier)
  • Joke Outfit (Bill Gottfrier)
  • Sarah and Monica (Gary Waleik)
  • New Machine (Waleik / Gottfrier)
  • Guitar Named Desire: The Animate Sequel (Gary Waleik)

Edited by: David N. Pyles
(dnpyles@acousticmusic.com)

Copyright 2012, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
 
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