abomstar's Big Dipper Pack 01 (Xbox 360) review

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By the numbers indie rock, but an easy sell at only $1 per track.

Continuing Harmonix's long-running fetish for local Boston acts comes Big Dipper, an indie rock outfit from the late 80s who recently rereleased most of their discography. The songs border on formulaic at times, but have hooks in all the right places, and at only $3 this pack is a decent bargain.

All three songs follow your basic verse/chorus/verse format, and typically on guitar you'll play a chordy riff during the choruses, and then a simple, cheerful lead for the verses, almost always consisting of single notes and single note sustains. The charts on all three songs make great use of three note chords when applicable, which is where all of the (minimal) challenge lies.

Drums on these are beats akin to something you'd play in Drum Trainer mode, with very little deviation, but the quick tempo and very nature of the songs keep you entertained. There's not a lot of bass pedal, but your right hand will practically never stop moving. The drummer here definitely doesn't have a lot of chops -- his most preferred fill is two snare hits, but hey, whatever works. I found myself being more inventive with my own drum fills than I normally am while playing these songs.

The standout track is definitely "Younger Bums", to the point where I'd recommend only picking this one up if you're on the fence. While all three are good sing-alongs, "Younger Bums" takes the cake on vocals with a David Byrne-esque narrative, humorous subject matter, and declarative yelps throughout. The song soars at the very end with loud layered guitars and the singer's voice remniscent of The Arcade Fire. This song breaks the mold a lot more than the others in every regard; on guitar you have a riff of palm-muted green notes with occasional GRB chords and a couple of fast descending zigzag fills which are short but fun. On drums there's actually a bridge section where you play triplets on the cymbal.

Recommended if you like playing songs by The Mother Hips, Honest Bob, or if you're a fan of post-Doolittle Pixies and the Kids in the Hall theme song.

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