Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Drongos - Small Miracles (1985, Proteus)

If you're gonna record your album on the sidewalk (for Chrissakes) you might as well go all out and start the tape rolling a hop, skip and a jump away from Times Square in midtown Manhattan.  That's what the Drongos did, a co-ed quartet of New Zealand transplants who I introduced you to a couple of years ago by way of their first album.  For an outdoor recording of any variety, the audio here is impeccable, and could easily be mistaken for a studio LP, were it not for the modest applause the band garnered at the conclusion of each number.  Amazingly, there's next to no obtrusive ambient noise (i.e. traffic) to gum up the proceedings.  In fact, if there were any blemished takes of these songs, they were obviously discarded in favor of the pristine versions that comprise Small Miracles.  It's a slight departure from their debut, and remarkably organic given the technological and architectural marvels that were literally surrounding the Drongos.  Performed on battery powered amps and a spartan snare drum, the group's frugal setup lent itself to no-effects, roosty rock and roll with an appreciated indie edge.  Buskin' out nearly a dozen tunes, the Drongos offer a pair of American standards in their setlist, Johnny Cash's iconic "Get Rhythm," and Chuck Berry's "Monkey Business."  Lots of sweet guitar tones on this one as well.  Incidentally, this whole deal went down on September 5, 1984.
01. Substance Abuser
02. With you Without
03. Standing on the Corner
04. Metronome
05. Monkey Business
06. Leave Me Alone
07. Passing By
08. Some Things
09. Small Miracles
10. Get Rhythm
11. Don't Touch Me