Big Dipper Supercluster: The Big Dipper Anthology

Big Dipper Supercluster: The Big Dipper Anthology
The musical landscape of the ’80s is scattered with bands like Boston’s Big Dipper, who somehow managed to slip through the cracks for no good reason. Formed by musicians known from previous bands like the Embarrassment and the Volcano Suns, they immediately stood out from the crowd because of their catchy songs, but that doesn’t mean that the majority of Supercluster, a three-CD set that brings together their releases on Homestead Records with unreleased material from later in their career, won’t come as a revelation to most. With everything old becoming new again, it isn’t a huge surprise that Big Dipper sound as if they could quite easily hold their own amidst today’s music scene. Sharing the same mid-’80s jangle as R.E.M. and the heavier guitar-laden leanings of the Smithereens, the band didn’t quite fit into any of the categories that were beginning to emerge at the time because they were bringing together influences in a way that outpaced their counterparts. That’s most likely why they didn’t make that transition that eventual label Epic would have loved to have seen happen. The fact that Supercluster is presented as if it is the definitive collection of Big Dipper material, yet contains no songs from their major label debut, speaks volumes. However, despite their last official release being both a commercial and artistic failure, they continued to record and the results of those early ’90s sessions are presented on the third CD in the set. And it turns out that the band still had a lot to offer when left to their own devices. (Merge)