Pete Murray

Summer at Eureka

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For his fourth album, Australian singer/songwriter Pete Murray built his own studio at his country house and produced himself for the first time. Often, this is a recipe for grandiose failure of the Brian Wilson in the sandbox variety, but if Summer at Eureka has any major faults, it's that Murray perhaps didn't expand his reach enough. Taken individually, the 12 songs here are low-key but appealing AAA folk-rock, equally at home in comparison to the '70s singer/songwriters and contemporaries like John Mayer, Jack Johnson, and Jason Mraz. Taken as a whole, though, the lack of variety in Murray's songwriting and the uninventive arrangements make the album a bit of a slog to get through in a single sitting. Even the addition of Darren Middleton of Aussie rockers Powderfinger providing a more muscular guitar sound to about a third of the tracks, including first single "You Pick Me Up" -- the album's spirited melodic high point "Miss Cold" and the unexpectedly funky, organ-driven album-closing rocker "Slack" only help a bit, by making the sameness of the remaining songs more obvious.

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