Darn Floor-Big Bite
Harvest Rock Syndicate Winter 1987/88
Darn Floor, Big Bite is an exercise in discovery
a moody, magnificent album which defies easy
description. Each listening brings new insights, impressions building up like the coats of lacquer on a
Japanese jewel-box. Maybe this shouldn't even be
called a 'review.' A review is after the fact, past-tense
a summation. I'll be frank-I'm still in the process
of absorbing Da's newest record. Chalk it up to the
weakness of language, I guess.
5 points out of 5
by Mark Eischer
Greg Flesch continues to amaze as Da’s resident
mad scientist of Guitar and Attendant Technology.
His innovative, angular guitar effects complement
Terry Taylor's provocative lyrics. Tim Chandlers
dissonant bass lines crawl like big lizards through the
underbrush of engineer Doug Doyle's mixes. Ed
McTaggart again contributes excellent artwork and
of course, Big Drums.
The album's basic idea is that all human attempts
to describe God fall short and fail. A thought Which -
has probably never creased the brow of
Chris Christian, it is basically just another variation on the "now
we see as through a glass darkly" theme.
Taylor adds a new twist by relating humanity's futile
attempts at grasping the Divine to the story of Koko
the Gorilla, a primate some scientists taught to 'sign"
simple words. The gorilla's best attempt at
describing the experience of an earthquake came
out as 'darn' floor, big bite.' Terry Taylor apparently
read that line
in National Geographic, a little light went "Sproing!" '
and the rest is history, as the animal kingdom
provides its richest literary alussion since Lassie,
Calling the Koko experiment "sign language” is itself
a faulty description, as I discovered when I tried to
explain the album to a friend of mine who works as
an interpreter for the deaf. She didn't really see much
humor in it in fact, she was rather offended by the
whole Koko idea, as though it were somehow a
putdown of deaf people. So it goes.
"The Unattainable Earth" continues
the communication-as-distortion theme, propelled along
by some of the album's most memorable hooks and-
a looping guitar riff reminiscent of the Beafles'
Da fanatics looking for their newest cult Classic
need look no further than the opening track, "Return
of the Beat Menace." Terry Taylor takes on the Baton
Rouge Bomber with this account of a backwoods
ayatollah gone hog-wild. The song is not so much
about rock-bashing, though, as about clashing
cultures and media manipulation. At the downlink end
of the televangelist's satellite network sits an eskimo
"He buys a suit and tie/re-styles his hair like girls
in Tupelo/and sings 'Sweet Bye and Bye." It's too
real to be funny.
In "Strange Animals," Taylor applies the theme to
human relationships: "If I were to give you/an animal's
name/Could I keep you locked/in a (age in my brain?"
Taylor will probably win few friends among
Biblical Inerrantists, thanks to the implications of this
albums theme. Yet, for all its dissonance and
angularity, its tribalistic Techno-Primitive rage, Darn Floor,
Big Bite is ultimately a prayer for deeper
understanding. The title song sums it up: "Illuminate my
muddled/Sweep the shadows from my mind/so I might
imagine what you are like/and understand the great
"The Shape of Air" seems to quote the melody of
Amy Grant's 'I Can Fly. " Whether the reference is
intentional or not, it helps create a sense of innocence
and wonder which concludes the record.