Ball Park Music – Tuning Fork: September 10, 2022

Ball Park Music are a sharp and surprisingly good indie rock group from Brisbane who are making their first mini-tour of New Zealand, even though they’ve been around for 14 years and have garnered numerous accolades across the ditch in the big country.

There may be a young pop star called Eyelash next door in the Arena, but this band are hot and sizzlin’ like prawns off the barbie, from the kick-off.

Manny, off their latest album Weirder and Weirder, is power pop garage with commanding drum accents. Builds to a nice Jesus and Mary Chain wall of sound.

One of their distinctive assets is lead singer and guitarist Sam Cromack who has an understated yet powerful garage band tenor. He looks nerdy with a Holden Caulfield bratty attitude. The audience here would not have been forced to read Catcher in the Rye at high school. Picture him as a stouter Kick Ass with those same glasses.

Everything is Shit Except My Friendship with You. They hit their straps with this and keep it up for the night. The drums are authoritative, the attitude is early pop punk Elvis Costello. Maybe the singer-songwriter has read J D Salinger.

Benjamin Mack

Benjamin Mack is a young singer-songwriter from Auckland and with the four band members on stage with him, they are a newly-minted indie or alternative rock outfit. Mack himself has benefitted from artistic development with the Parachute Artist Development Program.

First few songs sound like drones, with the sludgy echo all but burying the vocals.

Rock Bottom has a harder edge of original era punk. The engine room rhythm machine stands out.

They do have a low-key Flying Nun-band style, a grunge Velvets sound if you will.

Darling is off recently released EP Lonely Winter Castle. The song doesn’t really peak, it coasts along but morphs into a sentimental pop tune halfway through and picks up the mood.

Seasick does sound a little like the Velvet Underground’s Ocean. As well as an Eighties Flying Nun shuffle.

Back and Forth is also off the EP. Subdued and introspective but they build it into a nice pop sound. Don’t know if I’ll make it/ ‘Cause I crack under pressure.

Worth checking out that EP.

 Ball Park Music

I like this band’s song titles. Like, The Perfect Life Does Not Exist. Some inspiration from Morrissey and the Smiths? The singer is playing an acoustic guitar and they go off into an inspirational indie pop number with a passing nod to the La’s There She Goes Again. One of the highlights.

Stars in my Eyes is a similar raver. They can sound like the psychedelic pop bands which came under the influence of the Sgt Pepper-era Beatles.   

Trippin’ the Light Fantastic. Arty Sixties Austin Power’s era pop. I got my mojo back/ I don’t know where it went. 

It’s Nice to be Alive gets the audience cheering and joining in. Boring as bat-shit/ And you people make me feel so curious. The band has hard-core Aussie fans who attend all their gigs and some are present tonight.

Cherub is one my faves for the night. Begins quietly with an acoustic guitar. Just wanna be someone’s pet. Melodic pop hooks similar to the Beatle’s Here Comes the Sun, or Buddy Holly. Same thing.

Spark Up! certainly does. Tribal drumming with a Bo Diddley beat. The drums rule this and the band eventually sparks off from it.

She Only Loves Me When I’m There. Love those titles. A dramatic opening with atmospheric keyboards. The audience are seething and jumping.

They can strike some rock poses and throw out AC-DC rhythm licks with songs like Head Like a Sieve.

The encore is pure Holden Caulfield young-bloke angst, Sad Rude Future Dude. I only have sex with myself/ Haven’t had a friend in years. Read the book, or if you’re a Millennial, there’s a South Park episode to help you out.

Ball Park Music are appropriately loud, raucous and full of melodic hooks. They’re also clever and funny which makes them a winning power pop outfit.

Rev Orange Peel

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Ball Park Music:

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