Sunday, 12 September 2010

Mighty Little - Burning Sands Of Bondi 7" Phoenix PRS-2626, 1979

That pic sleeve – wow. These guys heard Computer Games, foresaw the future of music, and didn’t like it one bit. Perhaps the matrix grid don't care, but Mighty Little certainly did - enough to respond with amps stretching over the horizon, helmed by a proto-King Diamond/evil monkey hybrid, staring down a bank of data tapes in a fight to the death (thus anticipating Japanese hardcore in the process). Bravo fellas, bravo.

For a record that states its intentions so boldly, the mix is a little on the tame side. The "full-frontal bass" (delivered by the remarkably vertical "Horizontal Smith") is just that, but the rhythm guitar really could’ve been brought to the fore. For the most part it’s all in the pocket, almost to the point of understatement - it’s not until the final bars that things start to get savage (unless of course you factor in the couplet that begins the first verse, which goes straight to the pantheon of sexist opening salvos). But in the end, the production shortcomings are overshadowed by the sheer meanness of the song. A tough guitar riff pinned down by a one note bassline is a defining element of '70s Oz hard rock, and this example holds its own against the best of them.

Equally, there's an Oz punk 'n' roll tradition of guitarists appropriating pop culture/TV themes as guitar solos (see Radio Birdman, Celibate Rifles). Here, axe-wanker Barrington riffs on Lawrence of Arabia, thereby lending the song its title. What this has to do with the musical culture wars depicted on the sleeve is anyone's guess.

There are at least three other singles on the Phoenix label, each worth hearing for the adventurous of spirit and/or low of standards. Variously, they are: shambolic, Raincoats-like all gal pop with shaky English and even shakier musicianship; oddball hard rock with mild overtones of Chrome circa Blood On The Moon (actually a reissue of The Flush 7” sans sleeve); and punky powerpop in the style of early Scientists. The likelihood that any of those reference points were intentional? Minimal.

Burning Sands Of Bondi


Is our man Barrington he of the post-Kuepper Saints?

Update 18 June 2011
Thanks for the comment Steve. Here's the Youtube video Steve mentions which has a more balls-out version of Burning Sands Of Bondi (with guitar up front, where it belongs), over some great rehearsal room photos. Not quite the Dunedin Sound.

8 comments:

Stuart said...

Until now, there was not a single result on google for this record--quite a feat.

Anonymous said...

I have a copy of this single! I have not listened to it since about 1980.

The name just popped into my head a few moments ago while, so I thought I would go and google it. How surprised was I that there were no other hits, and this post is only a few days old. Spooky!

Anonymous said...

cont...

Forgot to mention some trivia... I got this single from Steve the Drummer whom I used to work with in Pitt Street, Sydney

Born To Be Punched said...

Did he give you a ride on his Ducati?

Purepop said...

Not the same Barrington...The Barrington I knew had a full head of hair in 1980...

weehuddy said...

i was the drummer in the aforementioned mighty little ... there is a utube version of burning sands that was recorded at the old double jay studios in clapham place and is much more like the band was live ( ie brutal)...the record was fraught with compromise, an engineer that didn't get us and tom misner telling us to cut verses out of' listening in' that kinda diminished it ... incidentally we were all from dunedin new zealand but formed in sydney ... we were well ensconced while mi sex were still a pink floyd covers band and a leo sayer impersonator ... strangely enough i played in a horrible fey little combo called silent movies which featured ex mi sex drummer richard on keys and future mi sex guitarist colin bayley (kevin's little brother ) thanks for remembering ... one of our number died last year and we all got to play those old tunes before he departed ...barrington (the bastard) morgan could not attend ...and i sold the duke in the 80s for about 3 times what i payed for it ,silly me ... i wish i still had it ... i drew the silly picture too

weehuddy said...

hi anon , i have forgotton your name but i remember you ... a breath of sanity at a weird workplace ... di dyou know that the legendary alberts studios were above us as we toiled ... i walked into the lift one morning and there were harry vanda and george young ... ac/dc recorded up there , the angels face to face album,jpy's love is in the air ,the tatts bad boy for love ... hope you're well

Jake Kilby said...

The singer/songwriter is my Dad, and I've been getting as much stuff from his music career together as I can (thus the YouTube vid of Burning Sands...)

If anyone has a copy of the 7" vinyl that they are prepared to sell, I'd love to hear from you...

Jake
jake@jakekilby.com