The debut self-titled album from The Summertimes is an iridescent ray of light, replete with soaring choruses, horn fringes and an overwhelming collection of jingle jangle-encased anthems that shimmer and glow. I am rather late to this particular dish which has certainly not cooled since its release in July. There is an antipodean flavour to the exciting power pop, instrumentation that is as wide and cinematic as the outback and a wry studied delivery that has confidence and poise, bolstered by glorious harmonies.
Opening track ‘Inside’ has a Beatlesesque quality about it but powers with the sort of pop that sets the feet alight and the mind buzzing. Scything guitars etch the sky above the shimmering harmonies.
‘Password’ gently shoves the track aside and takes us on a slamming romp of unadulterated power pop with a glint of humour. It’s inhibited joy that canters along with a high step and a wink I’ve got your password now – I’ve mapped your DNA. Pulse quickening stuff.
And putting the pop into power pop, ‘Wakes Up Shadows’ steps lightly on the brakes but delivers something that nods to troubadours like Paul Kelly with its soaring chorus and call and response backing vocals with jangling guitars.
By the time you get to ‘My Beautiful Girl Harbour’ you find it difficult to believe the standard and quality can last – a notion quickly disabused. This is a soaring track – yes there are hints in the melody of the eighties classic ‘I Melt With You’ and a chorus that oohs and aahs with the sort of layered harmonies that would make REM proud.
‘Where The Light Hits The Square’ is simply breathtakingly beautiful – the horns at the fringe add a spine chilling element and the chorus is bigger and more awe-inspiring than the Great Dividing Range.
‘White Pointer’ simply maintains the upward trajectory. Echoes of Tom Petty and REM come to mind but with its own unique take – soaring choruses and just a hint of humour (a searing take-down of over-confident masculinity). The twelve string jangle of ‘Love (It’s The Word)’ is epic, the guitars surf above a thundering rhythm section, glorious harmonies lighting the way. The song is so affirmative it was used by the YES campaigners for the recent Voice Referendum to use one of their songs off the album to promote the yes vote. And a big fuck off to those troglodytes that saw this referendum fail, to Australia’s eternal shame.
‘Sky And The Sea’ eases off with gentle guitars and reflective vocals in a delicate beautiful ballad that glitters with gorgeous melodies and harmonies on a hammond organ bed. ‘Athens G.A.’ clearly tips a hat to REM and their home town – reflecting the moving melancholia of their earlier work with yearning vocals that may break the heart but provide comfort through the euphoric jingle jangle guitars and trumpet.
The jungle beats of ‘The Perfect Wave’ highlights the antipodean brilliance of this album – elements of The Triffids, The Hoodoo Gurus, Sunny Boys are there – even including a cheeky reference to Midnight Oil – and delivered in an unashamed Australian accent.
Emitting a brilliant light befitting the band’s name, this is an album filled with sparks and electric jolts, perfectly formed pop brilliance that shimmers with a radiant glow replete with soaring choruses and an anthemic bent. Put this on and winter is instantly banished. What is remarkable is that the band has delivered ten sonic jewels that could each in their own right be a single – a remarkable feat.
When you look at the musicians involved with this record, it comes as no surprise that this is such an epic album. Joining mainstays and songwriters David Beniuk and David Challenger are lead guitarist Ashley Naylor (Even, Paul Kelly and The Church), drummer Steve O’Brien (Tumbleweed) and bassist Steve Bull (Icehouse). Producer was five-time ARIA-award winning producer Paul McKercher, who’s recorded with the likes of You Am I, Hoodoo Gurus, Eskimo Joe, and Midnight Oil.
‘The Summertimes’ is out now through Rank and File Records. You can get it through the link above or via all the usual downloading and streaming sites.