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.