THE PHEROMONES' first album -- named for their nifty novelty anthem, "Yuppie Drone" -- is a surprisingly good thing in a much-too-small package.

This is a "mini-LP": seven cuts, of which five stand out. It could've been worse, considering that this local duo's specialty -- fresh, pointed folk-pop -- rarely makes the leap from live to Memorex without losing much of its freshness and many of its points.

But Alvis and Jimmy Pheromone survive the studio here, and for some good reasons (including the studios themselves, Bias in Springfield and Silver Spring's Track): First, the arrangements are all low-key but highly effective elaborations on their usual guitar-and-harmony modus operandi -- from the droll drum-machine drone of the title cut, to sideman Stuart Smith's perfect, campy piano on "Mad Painter," a sure and silly little romp through the cliches of Great Art.

The other big help, of course, is the Pheromones' writing -- from the timeless, submerged-self meanderings of "Yuppie Drone" and "Talk About Me at Work Tomorrow," to the timely, psuedo-jolly counterpoint of "The Great Rondini," which includes this topical paean to the Pheromones' favorite prestidigitator: "Who can lower taxes while spending more and more? / Who can send in troops without involving us in war?"

THE PHEROMONES -- "Yuppie Drone" (PVC Records PVC 6910); appearing Saturday at Clayton's (7706 Woodmont Ave., Bethesda).