Ball Park Music are undoubtedly one of the most versatile alternative rock bands in Australia right now. They’re just as competent smashing out an emotionally-tinged ballad as they are a catchy pop tune or a harder hitting rock track. This is a reputation that is not only confirmed, but enhanced by the release of their fourth studio album Every Night The Same Dream.
Leading into the record Ball Park Music had already gone into previously unexplored territory, and having hinted that this new album would be a darker direction for the band, following the largely up-beat Puddinghead. They released Nihilist Party Anthem – a song that frontman Sam Cromwell labelled the antithesis to It’s Nice To Be Alive – and they also gave us their most complex epic to date, a 7 minute largely instrumental ballad called Pariah. These releases, along with the softer Whipping Boy, had punters at peak hype.
They hit new heights as soon as the record kicks off, leading in with the grungy, minor-tinged Feelings. It’s a track that was played at their run of intimate shows earlier this year, and shows off a bass-heavy side to the group, with some psych-rock tendencies deeply embedded within the track.
Immediately following that, we’re back into some more up-beat stuff. With the bold Ever Since I Turned The Lights On, littered with glowing keyboard lines, glistening above the melody. Sadly, the use of time signatures outside of the conventional 4/4 is an increasing rarity in current rock music, but typically, Ball Park Music are not afraid of exploration and Ever Since I Turned The Lights On moves between ¾ and 4/4 seamlessly.
The back end of the LP kicks off with a couple of softer jams, giving us a bit of time to recover from the emotional journey contained within the first half. Peppy and Leef are both chiller jam tracks and you can definitely picture the former being extended out with some awesome solos in a live setting.
Perhaps the biggest singalong track is Don’t Look At Me Like That, which starts off as an acoustic ballad, before Ball Park Music go full rock-singalong on us in a middle section, and then taper out into a weird, synth-heavy outro section. This incredible record then wraps up in the best way possible, with the pulsating, glitchy, emotion-filled Suit Yourself showing off a rarely seen, much richer, deeper tone to frontman Sam Cromack’s vocals.
Every Night The Same Dream is easily Ball Park Music’s biggest achievement to date. It’s full of rich feeling. It’s unpredictable, it’s explorative and you’re left not knowing whether you’re going to get pop, psych, ballad, acoustic rock or grungy bass next.
This is the record Ball Park Music needed to make, and it’s everything you wanted it to be.
‘Every Night The Same Dream’ is out Friday, August 19th