The Dubrovniks – “Fireball of Love” 7”
Acquired: Love Garden Shotgun Room, Used, 2008
I feel like I can’t say enough nice things about the alternative rock that came out of Australia and New Zealand in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Not all of it is great or terribly original, but almost all of it is at least good. Australian alt-rock always seems a bit more conventional than New Zealand’s (which is quirkier and has more willingness to experiment) but there’s this sort of wonderful tone to all the records that came out of Oceania at that time. The Dubrovnik’s hailed from Sydney and take their name from the Croatian town bassist Boris Sujdovic and guitarist Raj Radalj we born. “Fireball of Love” and B-side “If I Had a Gun” sound remarkably fresh for being recorded 25 years ago. Maybe I’ve been listening to too many 7”s that sound like they were recorded in basements, bedrooms, and closets, but the production on this one is very clean and manages to avoid almost all of the cheesy production maneuvers that plague mainstream late-80s rock music. “Fireball of Love” has only the slightest bit of that soft-focus feel, but it also has real pianos peppering the choruses instead of synthesizers and the vocals aren’t processed to death. “If I Had a Gun” has a rockabilly vibe that really works because the song is so short (1:40). Both songs are really short, and I’ve become sort of a lobbyist for economical pop music in recent years. Unless you are pulling out some stylistic tricks, there is really no reason to keep repeating verses and choruses until your song hits the four-minute mark. Or the three-minute mark, even. If your song repeats on itself after two minutes (give or take a bridge to make it sound like you’re not just stretching the thing out to beat the melody into the head of the listener), just cut it off at two minutes. I find that crafting a short song with replayability value is much more desirable than making a long song that is going to make someone never want to listen to it again because it’s boring. Even though the Dubrovniks break no new ground, I listened to each side at least four times and wanted to go back for more.