Venerdì 30 Marzo 2012 alle 20:00
The Factory Theatre
105 Victoria Rd, Marrickville, 2204, Australia
Tel: (02) 9550 3666
About five or so minutes into Ball Park Music’s debut album you get as crystal clear an insight into this band as you could want. As Sam Cromack sings the line “It’s Nice To Be Alive” in that trademark laid-back melodic delivery of his, you know he means it.
And why shouldn’t he feel that way? Over the past couple of years the Brisbane six-piece – Cromack with Jennifer Boyce, Brock Smith, twins Dean and Daniel Hanson and Paul Furness – has emerged seemingly out of nowhere to become not just one of the city’s, but the country’s stand out new bands.
There’s been the run of brilliantly clever singles, the infectiously energetic live shows, and now Ball Park Music have delivered in spades with their debut album – Happiness and Surrounding Suburbs.
No one is probably more surprised by all this than the band. As Cromack freely admits, Ball Park Music was something of a happy accident. Literally thrown together in a university classroom, the band’s members never expected to be making music together – there was no plan. But somehow it’s worked…and then some.
Led by songwriter Cromack, the band has become a cohesive creative unit that seems to effortlessly know what it takes to make great music. And the fact they’ve nailed the album probably won’t come as much of a surprise to those who’ve followed the band’s emergence.
First hitting Brisbane stages in 2008, they quickly turned out their debut EP Rolling On The Floor, Laughing Ourselves To Sleep which instantly put them on the national radar. Then came the follow up 2010 EP Conquer The Town, Easy As Cake which spawned arguably one of the most irresistible Australian tracks of 2010 in the form of the single ‘iFly’.
That song was just the start though, with a brace of tunes including ‘Sad Rude Future Dude’, ‘Rich People Are Stupid’ and, more recently, new single ‘It’s Nice To Be Alive’ all picking up rotation on national broadcaster triple j. That station went on to name Ball Park Music a ‘Next Crop’ Act in 2010 with the band invited to perform at a very special Ausmusic Month party presented and broadcast by the station.
It’s airplay that has been the catalyst for a touring regime that’s never really let up. Aside from sell-out dates in their home town, they’ve performed with the likes of Boy & Bear, Cloud Control, Hungry Kids of Hungary, Philadelphia Grand Jury, Eagle and The Worm and Big Scary amongst others, while winning plenty of new fans through sets at the Gold Coast Big Day Out, Falls Festival, Southbound, Sunset Sounds and Good Vibrations festivals. The band even headed to Asia recently after being invited to play at Music Matters (Singapore) and the CAMA festival in Vietnam.
But the big picture for Ball Park Music was always about making their debut long-player. Recorded over six months with Brisbane producer Matt Redlich (Hungry Kids of Hungary) Happiness and Surrounding Suburbs was driven by a process of refinement. By taking their time, the band was able to wring the most out of the tracks – there was no rush, just a desire to get it right. The record has also given Cromack the chance to stretch his wings as a writer.
Swaggering between the quirky and quietly reflective – much like a young Damon Albarn (Blur, Gorillaz) – he brings a sly sense of social commentary to the songs. His goal was to craft much more than just a collection of catchy radio tunes. While the singles knock you out first time, the album has plenty of moments where you want to – and can – dig deeper. What marks those tracks across Happiness… is a sense of restraint. Sure, there are six people in the band, but never are the songs cluttered or overcooked. It’s clever pop writing at its best and a record that marks just the beginning for a band with a future that’s bigger than just bright.
And now the fun really begins. With the record out September 2011 through Stop Start/EMI Ball Park Music will be seeing the inside of plenty of vans, venues and festivals over the coming months.
Like their songs, life for Ball Park Music is about to be anything other than dull.