Picks and Pans Review: Heavens

updated 03/14/1988 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 03/14/1988 AT 01:00 AM EST

Big Dipper

If the Talking Heads were less brilliant or more humble, they might sound something like this Boston-based quartet. With his nervous vibrato and distracted tone, Big Dipper's Bill Goffrier sings at times as if he were little brother to the Heads' David Byrne. The guitar-based style of this debut LP is less cerebral than early Talking Heads, less mass-market than recent Heads records. But what both bands share is a vague sense of foreboding. All Going Out Together sounds like a peppy song about dating until a closer listen to the lyrics reveals a dark message about an impending apocalypse. Younger Bums, which adapts the melody of the Cat Stevens tune Longer Boats, sarcastically describes a new breed of indigent men who can survive any sort of abuse. The more upbeat Wet Weekend depicts the joy of spending rainy days indoors. The Dippers' greatest talent surfaces in songs that serve as extended metaphors. She's Fetching seems to tell both about a fine boat and a lovely woman; Humason, about the 20th-century astronomer Milton Humason, draws parallels between stargazing and love. The Dippers, who used to play with such Boston bands as Dumptruck, Embarrassment and Volcano Suns—all right, so they haven't hit it big west of the Charles—once called themselves the Has-Beens. If they launch a few more albums as good as this, they could become successful enough to have to worry about living up to their former name. (Homestead)

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