Ball Park Music

Ball Park Music

Ball Park Music

The start of Ball Park Music feels exactly how you’d expect a Ball Park Music album to sound: like raucously uptempo rock made for festival sing-alongs. The thing is, the best parts about this album are those which push way beyond what you’d expect from the Brisbane group. Their sixth album was originally supposed to be called Mostly Sunny, but in April 2020 they decided to change it. Between the bushfires, the pandemic, and the general sense of anxiety and downtrodden-ness at the core of many of these tracks, it didn’t exactly fit. So they cleared the slate and opted for the self-titled approach.
It was for the best. There’s a lot of new sounds on this fascinating, often surprising album, and none of them are especially sunny. “Nothing Ever Goes My Way” and “I Feel Nothing” are a misery-laden double-header of melodic nihilism, dreariness, and sarcasm: “Here I am in this godforsaken piece of shit of a situation/Every day is a special occasion/Oh look, we’re getting our picture taken ... Dead on the inside, dead on the outside, I feel nothing.” “Bedroom” is frantic and rather caustic, evoking a sense of physical anxiety in its Sonic Youth tone (minus all the pedals) and repetitive lyrics. It feels like it was written for the times. And unlike many COVID-era songs about finding calm or figuring out issues or learning from the experience, it’s simply fed up and pissed off. The tension rises through the haze, and at about 1:54, singer Sam Cromwell suddenly begins shrieking: “I need to get out, I need to get out of this bedroom.” It’s an intense, necessary release. “Katkit,” on the other hand, is smooth and woozy, its only flaw being that it’s just 84 seconds long. But it serves as a dreamy intro to “Cherub,” perhaps the most interesting, un-BPM-like track on the album. It’s a muffled, lo-fi, shoegazey delight, and further proof that Ball Park Music is not only open to new ideas, they’re still discovering their best selves.

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