Brisbane’s Ball Park Music have always been adept at sliding a little pathos into the indie pop formula. But continuing a trend of incrementally trading out the fabrics of pop kookiness for more stern-faced rock sensibilities, Every Night The Same Dream marks the group’s 4th studio helping.
Laced with coyly self-referential lyrics, Feelings kicks things wide open. Poised on a headlong surge into psychedelia, a chunky, bass-heavy riff sits at the heart of the ever-building rocker. Evoking some of the groove and vocal drawls of Mick Jagger’s mercifully worthwhile solo rarity Memo From Turner, the track deftly balances tension against release. There’s no faulting the group’s ability to throw together an infectious party-starter.
Lead single Whipping Boy’s phased out fretwork quickly gives way to overdriven guitar licks pushed forward by a propulsive rhythmic undercarriage. Four albums into their career, the track comes as an effortless artefact of pop songcraft. Nihilist Party Anthem continues this energetic surge. “I’m a nihilist because life is normal and I know it” slips Same Cromack. With lyrics torn from the prosaic and angst-ridden days of the 90s, the track completes the picture with a truly bombastic and anthemic chorus. Peppy continues the demi-psych bent, throwing in some Beatladelic soloing for good measure.
But for those looking to find the seismic ripples of She Only Love’s it When I’m There or It’s Nice to Be Alive within these sonic confines may leave disappointed. Ball Park’s albums have always smouldered at a lower heat than their leading singles. Every Night The Same Dream proves especially reinforcing. More than ever slick indie rock hooks, lightweight musical ideas and pop melody give way to brooding moods and almighty riffs.
The key influence of Radiohead circa In Rainbows permeates the LP. On tracks like Pariah, Leef and Don’t Look at Me Like That, the angst-ridden experimentation of the Oxford antecedents can be found to have well and truly seeped through. There’s no shortage of alienation and spacey instrumental interludes. Yet despite these sombre undercurrents, Ball Park remain more within the lighter shades of heartbreak than their po-faced Brit counterparts.
Blushing’s pounding percussion and 10 Suite Yourself’s shimmering textures combine with heart-on-sleeve lyricism and close off with some of the engaging material from the LP. The group’s balancing of rock and pop sensibilities has never failed to grab the all-important approval of triple j as well as win the hearts of a large domestic fanbase. After an initial spin, this latest album seems like no exception.
Every Night The Same Dream might tease the notion of déjà vu, but if anything the LP proves another worthwhile addition to an excellent string of albums.
Image Source: Ball Park Music