Big Dipper


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With the legendary Sean Slade/Paul Kolderie team doing the producing honors at Fort Apache studios, Big Dipper built upon the strengths of Boo-Boo (included with the CD version of Heavens) quite successfully. As with their earlier release, the music sparks with post-punk/power pop fire, but often eschews romantic angst dark or light for less expected lyrical realms. "Easter Eve" captures the slightly off spirit of Big Dipper well -- besides being an unheard-of holiday, the strong riffs always end quickly, holding back a touch, chopping along with a strange intensity. "Younger Bums" has a great, strong central riff, even while Goffrier and company dismiss the title characters and their frustrating ways. Though the variety of the record isn't high, at points the four members nicely reach to new heights, assisted by the sharp, but never overly polished, work of Slade and Kolderie. "Lunar Module" has an especially fine, trancy ending, the band chanting "That's what it seems" slowly over a leisurely fading groove. "Man O' War" features a guest mandolin player; its rushed pace and ruminative lyrics, not to mention Goffrier's delivery, sounds like a hyperactive American cousin of the Go-Betweens. It's a feeling that crops up more than once throughout the record, Goffrier's slightly tremulous passion (no matter what the subject) lending the music an extra punch. The album ends on a fine note with "Guitar Named Desire," a slightly surfy, mostly instrumental track that kicks up its heels nicely. Charming and forceful all at once, Heavens boded well for Big Dipper as the full start of its recording career.

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