Image Description: Ball Park Music
By Cate Tweedie and Daniel Litjens
With anticipation high for indie rockers Ball Park Music’s sixth, creatively titled album, Ball Park Music, does the Brisbane five-piece’s latest jaunt live up to the hype? Cate Tweedie and Daniel Litjens have the verdict.
With this latest album, it feels like Brisbane outfit Ball Park Music have hit a home run for summer. With big retro vibes and an overall bright tone to their sound, Ball Park Music presents as the ultimate road-trip album.
Whether you’re one for staring out the window imagining you’re in a film montage, or the designated aux-cord hype man, the album has got you covered. From the surf-track-like ‘Head like a Sieve’ to the chiller ‘Cherub’, the music is broadly appealing – it works both as a beach-day soundtrack and existential crisis comfort blanket. There are also a few throwbacks to the traditional concept of an album, with various song-to-song transitions encouraging you to listen to the whole thing in order.
Overall, it’s full of rich guitar riffs, up-tempo beats and some funky modal moments that hark back to late 60s/early 70s rock. Listening to Ball Park Music immediately conjures up images of Australian beach trips – it’s summer condensed.
When I started at UWA, I was studying a degree I wasn’t sure I wanted to pursue, and I was struggling to make new friends. The one thing getting me through those first few tumultuous weeks of uni was Ball Park Music’s Good Mood. Two and a half years later, I am in my final semester, and set to hold my hand again in my last few weeks of my degree yet again is Ball Park Music.
Released through their own label Prawn Records, Ball Park’s new self-titled LP is a celebration of their last twelve years as indie-rock pioneers, and a teaser at what is still to come in their journey to becoming Australian music icons. The whole album is an indie rock masterclass, with the first half featuring fast-paced headbangers you can sing and dance to, and the second half slowing down into the perfect soundtrack for a sunset drive.
Ball Park have dropped the heavy synths and pads found on their previous two albums to return to how they made their name: catchy guitar-driven tracks that make you happy. Lead singer Sam Cromack’s lyrics range from wholesome and nourishing to self-deprecating and melancholic, while the rest of the band follow with a well-crafted sound you can’t help but tap your feet to.
Originally titled Mostly Sunny, Ball Park Music’s new release has been teased for almost a year, initially releasing ‘Spark Up!’ in March this year. This track, along with other singles ‘Day & Age’ and ‘Cherub’, had regular airtime on triple j, with the whole album being featured on the national broadcaster the week before its release. These singles, along with the third track ‘Nothing Ever Goes My Way’, are most likely to feature on this year’s Hottest 100 count.
While providing something fresh and exciting for new fans, Ball Park Music also caters to long-time fans, with songs from the new release paying homage to their past records. If you liked their second-album opener ‘Fence Sitter’, then you’ll love ‘I Feel Nothing’, a fast-paced lament of life. If you’re more of a fan of the chaotic ‘Hands Off My Body’ from Good Mood, then you’re set to enjoy the heavy head-banger ‘Bedroom’. But if you’re just searching for more of the wholesome BPM, then you can’t go past a track like ‘Day & Age’ or the masterpiece of ‘Cherub’.
Overall, Ball Park Music stands out as one of the finest albums in what has been a unique year in music making. Despite being their sixth full-length feature album, Ball Park Music have stated that they’re just getting started, and I am excited for what is to come.