Sydney’s own Murray Darling have come out with their fourth release of 2018, following two singles and an EP, and are capping off this huge year with the summer single ‘Summer of (69)’. Their unique brand of indie/garage rock has made them one of Sydney’s fastest rising rock bands, but this song slows everything right down to deliver a tribute to the distinct Australian summer.
If Bryan Adams’ ‘Summer of ‘69’ is an iconic 80s track, rooted in nostalgia for the 1960’s American summer, then Murray Darling have translated both the American 80s sound and imagery to the contemporary Sydney scene. Trading in the bright, upbeat energy of their more fun tracks ‘Want It to Be’ and the classic ‘Don’t Say You’re Moving To Melbourne’, ‘Summer of (69)’ has a dark but emotionally driven lethargy to it. This almost haunting and slow musical tone matches the lazy, relaxed tone of the Australian summer, fitting perfectly in to the sweltering heat. The minimalist acoustic guitar chords harmonise with the gentle electric guitar riff. With a third melodic guitar coming in over the top, the instrumental layers are tied together through a simple percussion beat. The slow pace and stripped back, reverb heavy, indie sound not only compel the listener to take it easy, but also help to emphasise the real star of the track, singer/songwriter BJ Smith’s lyrics. The refined guitar and rhythm section direct all the focus on the vocals. This overwhelmingly Australian depiction of summer includes all the classic symbols, from cricket, yellow belly snakes and cicadas to pavlova and burnt snags, “an Australian summer, you just can’t compare.” The repeated chorus is powerful and so Australian that the listener can’t help get swept up in this emotional summer ballad, “man it’s a hot one out there today, it could be 40 or more I’d heard them say. It’s beginning to look a lot like summer.”
This summer, when the harsh summer sun is beaming down on you, take some time to listen to Murray Darling’s ‘Summer of (69)’. The slow pace, dark instrumental tones and gloriously Australian lyrics will force you to take a second to stop, soak in that harsh sun and remember what makes the Aussie summer so special.