Numbers With Wings
Sweet Blue Cage
Numbers with Wings caught Hoboken heroes The Bongos at a crucial phase in their evolution. Following their classic 1982 debut album, Drums Along the Hudson, the original trio expanded to a quartet, adding guitarist James Mastro and considerably broadening their sound. While here they still offer up their signature brand of quirky, slightly mysterious, new wave–informed power pop, they utilize a broader sonic palette. They make more use of keyboards and varied guitar tones, brought home by a more cinematic-sounding production approach. It also didn’t hurt that frontman Richard Barone’s songwriting skills kept on growing. The drama-filled title track, which finds the band at its film-noir moodiest, is quite possibly The Bongos’ finest moment. The aqueous ballad “Sweet Blue Cage” is moving not in spite of its elliptical lyrics but at least partly because of them, while the ‘80s college-radio staple “Barbarella” serves to remind that for all the aforementioned nuances, The Bongos could still rip out some primal, big-beat rock 'n' roll.