Ball Park Music- Happiness and Surrounding Suburbs
The moment you lay eyes on their debut album cover- a naked man standing triumphantly amongst mountains- you can see that Ball Park Music are a band with an ethos we can all enjoy. After a few tantalizing EPs, Happiness and Surrounding Suburbs totally justifies the hype surrounding what has been dubbed “Australia’s happiest band”.
The album kicks off with “Literally Baby” which has the opening lines “I got shot, straight out of a cannon”. It is a very apt description not only for the song but for the whole album, as this song perfectly showcases their ability to create jangly pop tunes with a racing pace, peppered with profanity.
Then comes the almost ludicrously catchy “It’s Nice To Be Alive”, a song that has received a fair bit of attention on the airwaves. Definitely a standout track on the album, with an excellent video clip to match, it could almost be construed as preachy were it not for the sense of simplicity and honestly behind the lyrics, carried through by the bouncy beats and wonderful harmonies in the chorus.
“this song perfectly showcases their ability to create jangly pop tunes with a racing pace, peppered with profanity”
The album continues in this vein for the next few tracks, with “Sad Rude Future Dude” and “Rich People Are Stupid” being another two tracks that have received some radio love of late. “All I Want Is You” is another gem, an ode to a lover which contains a chorus just begging for a drunken festival sing-along. But before you tire of such jaunty, carefree songs the album takes a definite turn in the song “Alligator”. The pace is brought right down and the single guitar throughout much of the introduction creates a much sparser feel compared with the rest of the album. It gives a sense of melancholy or loss, creating stark contrast with what one might have previously expected from this band.
Later on, the track “Shithaus” also creates a different kind of mood to the songs heard prior- grinding guitar on the intro create a feeling of tension, which gives way somewhat when we reach the chorus. Despite that, it is definitely a change in approach for Ball Park Music and shows that they endeavoured to create juxtaposition in the album.
iFly, which contains the lyrics “I fucking love you, I think you’re pretty” (Ahhhh, you see what they did there?) sees a return to their traditional mix of cheeky and infectious tunes, unashamedly buoyant and yet another chorus that cries out for intoxicated festival punters to give their own rendition.
The album winds up with the slightly wordy “Happy Healthy Citizen of the Developed World Blues”, the longest track on the album. Starting off with a simple acoustic guitar, it grows when the chorus hits into a lively and animated tune that demands attention. The best part of this song however, and possibly the high point of the album, is when it evolves into a delightfully shambolic rendition of the opening track “Literally Baby”. This bookends the album beautifully and ends it on a very triumphant note.
Happiness and Surrounding Suburbs showcases Ball Park Music to the best of their ability. Perfect for summertime, be it at a backyard barbeque or one of the many festivals the band have been frequenting lately, it contains all the joy and madness one might expect from them, whilst branching out and displaying their ability to experiment with other types of sound. This album sounds like a band that is only just beginning to show us what they can do, and here’s hoping they are around for a lot more.
Get stuck in .