I’m not exactly sure when it became necessary to quantify everything, and subsequently spoil the fun, but putting exact figures on Big Plastic Finger is not only impossible, but would be as slippery as the music (we’ll get to that). Besides, they already got a big finger hooked to Launching The Tone Arm, their first full length. I’m pretty sure they know what they’re doing…even when it sounds like they don’t. Now, isn’t that the beauty of it all? It is when it’s 3 parts Brian Wilson Shock Treatment, a few beakers of molten psych rock, a healthy dose of noise rock, a whole lot of improvisational deep probe space rock and a myriad of other ingredients from space dust to garage grime under the big fingernail. Shaked, baked and refried to a glorious luster, the one thing you can say about Big Plastic Finger with certainty is that for as unhinged and freak-flag waving as LTTA is, it welcomes you in with multiple open arms. Collectively, Big Plastic Finger have played with The Boredoms, Hawkwind, Nik Turner…if that gives you an idea of where they are coming from, and try to head to, that’s only a start. If you co-pilot with the likes of Can, Alien Planetscapes, Zappa, Gong, AMT, Beefheart, and not in the least, Brian Wilson Shock Treatment, then you’re getting warmer…but absolutely nowhere near the sun. For as overwhelmingly toxic as all that might seem to the timid, LTTA—like those other like-minded travelers’ exhaust—is highly breathable and life-giving…where there may not be any. Inside their avant-cauldron of sound, BPF never leave you without something to hang onto, and by doing so never collapse into mindlessly tiresome wankery. Scott Pratos’ guitar is laced with a loose history lesson of psych guitar pyrotechnics that he smelts into his own, able to cook and contemplate equally. Mark McClemens and Brian McCorkle work the bottom end engine room giving a nucleus that is as rock-solid as it is shape-shifting, letting the whole storm swirl around and in them, while being constantly on the go themselves. Both are doing their own thing for sure, but it’s not two cats soloing unaware of some basic work that needs to be done; both fundamental and far-flung. And then there’s Bonnie Kane with a self-described secret weapon of ‘avant-core’ fired from saxophone and flute that’s integral to BPF. All make their presence known, and felt, while serving the big picture…and the big finger. Launching The Tone Arm is bracing stuff, not to be fully enjoyed in one session. Each return finds the tone arm launching to a new destination without losing sight of the mission. Big Plastic Finger have the remainder of their collective appendage confidently on the handle…thankfully the rest opts to go off it.
Launching The Tone Arm is available via download and limited edition vinyl from Starry Night Records.
Finding a Good Use for the Growing Pile :: Big Plastic Finger :: Launching The Tone Arm (2012, Starry Night Records)
"This show is 110% … one of the most consistently awesome programs we have come across."
The Sunrise Ocean Bender sets sail every Monday morning, 1 – 3 a.m. on WRIR lp 97.3 FM, to find something for your ears, and something for your head … From psych to prog to pop and whatever tributary we can find on the way … and right back around again. There might be a map, but the destination is up for grabs. If it all goes right, we may just get lost. Meet me at the muster station … it might be a long week.