Danny McDonald's "solo" debut (he used to record one-man-band power pop under the band name P76) is a richly enjoyable pure pop album of both lyrical and melodic heft, sounding at times like a cross between Paul Kelly & the Messengers' late-'80s albums and the straightforward hooks and harmony of Brendan Benson or Jason Falkner. The Kelly influence -- McDonald has proclaimed Kelly's Under the Sun his all-time favorite album, and it shows -- is most evident on the folkish, acoustic "Let's Get Drunk to You and Me," but McDonald has a similar Australia über Alles feel to his lyrics, filling songs like "Too Much Fun," "Living in Traralgon," and "An Hour's Drive in a Sandman Panel Van" (a brief and minimal but utterly charming homage to Australian surf culture) with novelistic detail and offhand local references that help set his songs in a very specific time and place. More importantly, McDonald has an uncanny knack for varied and appealing melodies, and his self-production is clean and richly detailed, giving Summer City enough variety that its unfortunately brief playing time (11 songs in 25 minutes!) doesn't seem like too little to properly appreciate.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Stewart Mason