Brisbane quintet Ball Park Music have never been one to rest on their laurels. Each album has boasted evolution in their sound, from the bustling triple j-certified indie rock presented on their debut, Happiness and Surrounding Suburbs, to the more psychedelically-inspired Every Night the Same Dream. Fifth album GOOD MOOD takes the best aspects of each of their previous endeavours and brings it all together for what could be the band’s best effort yet.
With the band renowned for their prolific output, GOOD MOOD hits streaming services (and what few shelves remain) just 18 months after their last foray. Frontman Sam Cromack remains one of Australia’s best lyricists, and he flexes his considerable songwriting muscle throughout the album’s ten tracks. ‘Frank’features a futuristic-sounding Cromack, driven by a fast encroaching drum beat that snowballs throughout the track, and is Ball Park at their best. “You are always on my mind” is a phrase anyone can relate to, and we all have someone we think about when we hear it. For the first time in Ball Park’s career, guitarist Dean Hanson wrote for the album, a contributing factor in its shifting sounds. His penned contribution is ‘The Perfect Life Does Not Exist’: in many ways a quintessential Ball Park Music song, with the acoustic guitar reminiscent of their earlier discography, struck with the same solemn sentiments as classic tracks like ‘Shithaus’ and ‘Surrender’. Cromack attests that Hanson wrote it with a hangover, and its languid, late-arvo emotion is ever tangible. It’s a sure fire seedy Sunday track.
‘Exactly How You Are’is more slacker-pop than indie rock, and might just be the most joyous song on the album. Bassist Jen Boyce’s backing vocals provide lush harmonies, and the guitar tone is exquisite. Ball Park are almost unstoppable when they get going, and this album is them in full flight. Much like Lance Franklin bursting down the wing, sometimes you know what they’re going to do, but nevertheless they’re unstoppable. ‘Hands Off My Body’is driven by a fuzzed-out riff that feels more post-punk than anything, with Cromack taking the band along for the ride of a lifetime. I just hope he hasn’t chopped everything off. In many ways this album feels like it is meant to be experienced live, which is where the band is at their peak. If you can, make sure to see them live to fully understand this record; even if you can’t, this is one hell of an album. Their best yet? I think so. Long live Ball Park Music. Catch Ball Park Music on their national headline tour with Ali Barter & Hatchie – The Forum, March 2 2018.
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