|This is Aussie powerpoppers P76 who, paradoxically, were Danny McDonald's most recent band. The story is that Danny went solo and his band went with him. So I suppose P76 is still Danny's band, just going out under his name with him singing and playing guitar. Whatever you call 'em, this is pretty choice stuff, if a little more low-key than the fabulous P76 album, "Into the Sun", which was one of the best pop releases of 2002. "On the Beach..." is already shaping as one of the better EPs of the genre for '03.
Danny writes all the songs and they're good 'uns, full of imagery of sun-filled days and beaches. Just as well Pop the Balloon (the home for this release) isn't parochial because they're French and it was four below zero across most of that country, last time I looked. Then again, maybe they're in the mood for summery songs.
The other point to be made is that these tunes are fairly short: "Soaking Up the Sunshine" clocks in at 1min20sec and is over before it's begun. "Friday Night and "When the Money Comes My Way" are a tad over two minutes long while the introspective loss song, "This House Was Once Our Home", is the centrepiece at four minutes. Still, if you're a fan of Danny or P76 (or his earlier band Jericho who played similar music with less memorable songs) you're going to need this.
"Friday Night" is the poppy rocker, "This House..." the serious tune with the big hook and "When the Money Comes My Way" the pretty acoustic one. "Soaking Up the Sunshine" is a breezy opener, setting the mood without being insubstantial.
There's a certain timeless sort of powerpop that'll always be welcome in the Bar. It's uncontrived, not overproduced and delivered straight from the heart. Guitars help, too. Danny McDonald fits the bill and nods, stylistically, in the direction of the Posies, Sunnyboys and DM3. "On the Beach..." is a good introduction and, I'd suggest, an ideal sampler for the A & R audience. Not that they shouldn't already be circling - there's a new album that should hit the shelves, around the world, midway through 2003.