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Articles Home » 1991 Articles » Big Dish, The - 1991 Satellites
Big Dish, The - 1991 Satellites

ARTIST: Big Dish, The
ALBUM: Satellites
LABEL: East West
SERIAL: 7 91636-2
YEAR: 1991


LINEUP: Steve Lindsay - guitars, vocals * Brian McFie - guitars, backing vocals

Additional Musicians: Craig Armstrong - piano, keyboards * Warne Livesy - programming * John Giblin, Pino Paladino, Raymond Docherty - bass * Geoff Dugmore, Skip Reid, Manu Kastchie - drums * Guy Barker, Stuart Brooks, John Thirkell, Simon Gardener - trumpets * Jamie Talbot, Neil Sidwell, Chris White, Phil Todd - sax * Carol Kenyon - backing vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Miss America * 02 State Of The Union * 03 Across The Province * 04 Give Me Some Time * 05 25 Years * 06 Big Town * 07 Shipwrecked * 08 Warning Sign * 09 Bonafide * 10 Learn To Love

Scotland's The Big Dish like Blue Nile, Love & Money, The Bible, The Beautiful South and China Crisis were part of the UK's 'sophisti-pop' movement that enjoyed an all too short moment in the sun roughly between 1985 and 1992. With a lineage that can be traced directly back to Roxy Music's elegant 1982 album 'Avalon'; the sound was characterized by an artfully smooth blend of jazz, soul and pop that was both cultured and slightly highbrow lyrically but extremely accessible and a welcome alternative for this reviewer to the gonzo American hair metal and geeky college rock that was so prolific at the time. Formed in 1983 The Big Dish released three critically praised records; the first two 'Swimmer' released in 1986 and 'Creeping Up On Jesus' from 1988 featured superbly crafted singles that should have set the charts on fire but mysteriously fizzled out. It was the same story in the U.S. and by the time 'Satellites' was released on the Warner Brothers subsidiary East West; The Big Dish paired down to Brian McFie and leading light Steve Lindsay were nearing the end of their all too short run but not before turning out what is arguably their best album.

The Songs
In fact it's difficult to believe 'Satellites' is now twenty years old and while some have called 'sophisti-pop' tepid music, I can't imagine anyone listening to this platter and not be moved by Steve Lindsay's impeccable pop song craft. Lead-off single 'Miss America' is a perfect example of Lindsay's wonderful ability to paint sentimental pictures of love, loneliness and quiet desperation. Flawless instrumentation and pristine production by Warne Livsey whose work with Midnight Oil, Deacon Blue and Paul Young speak for itself; there's little on 'Satellites' I can find fault with. From the catchy 'Across The Province' to the moody David & David influenced rocker 'Big Town' and the brilliant 'Bonafide' which could almost pass as a subdued U2; this record is perfect for a late summer afternoon listen. Shut the blinds, pour some vino and let the heat of the day gently wash away with the sounds of The Big Dish and some of the classiest pop music you'll ever hear.

In Summary
A UK tour supporting fellow Scotsmen Del Amitri and a headline jaunt of their own closed out the band's career with little if any fanfare. Steve Lindsay went solo but hasn't done anything out of the ordinary with the exception of his 2004 solo 'Exit Music' which had a few good moments. Twenty years is a long stretch but there's no time like the present to track down 'Satellites' and the early albums which are sadly long out of print but worth every effort.

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#1 | Jez on July 29 2011 22:42:41
Good disc indeed, but always preferred the exquisite 'Swimmer' album over this and 'Creeping..' All well worth checking out though.
#2 | Eric on July 30 2011 00:13:19
It was a toss up between this and 'Swimmer'. Decisions, decisions!Smile
#3 | gerard on August 01 2011 12:54:23
Very nice album and good to see this here, Eric! And thanks for reminding me of David and David as well!High time to listen to 'Welcome to the Boomtown' again...
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