The contrast between a band’s popularity in different countries tends to baffle me. Here in Australia, you’ve got guys like Guy Sebastian and Matt Corby who pretty much rule their respective scenes down under. But then once you bring them to the States, their fan base is barely a fraction of that. Ball Park Music is a very similar case, which is why this Intro post is a bit unconventional: with 23,000+ Facebook fans and the ability to sell out shows like no one’s business, it’s a shame that their fame hasn’t crossed over to Europe and the States.
The five-piece who just released their sophomore album, Museum, via EMI have been absolutely killing it at the moment, with major airplay by Triple J and sold-out shows across the country, appealing to a wide fan base of youngsters and indie aficionados alike due to their quirky, twee-infused indie pop, sounding something like what you would get if you combined Los Campesinos! with fun. Even so, they make their music sound completely their own, as they continuously embrace this infectious quirkiness that they possess.
You know that lanky kid in high school who was always a bit socially awkward, goofy, but secretly absolutely talented? That’s frontman Sam Cromack. And then his best friend, the quiet, soft-spoken girl who was never seen without him? That’s bassist Jennifer Boyce. The two of them are the main faces of the band, as their music resonates with past-high school misfits nationwide who have come into their own.
Tracks like “iFly” off their debut album, Happiness And Surrounding Suburbs, are exactly what you’d expect a high school love song should sound like, as Sam sings “I fucking love you I think you’re pretty / I fucking love you all of the time / I fucking love you I think you’re pretty / and I wanna make you mine”, and Jennifer provides some adorable “ooohs” in the background. And then Museum‘s first single, “Surrender”, is an endearing heart wrenching-yet-heartwarming number that has Sam utilizing his falsetto as Jennifer provides some fabulous harmonies. Heartbreak has never sounded so… cute.
A huge part of these guys’ appeal is the live shows, as they perform like seasoned performers, even though they only released their debut album around a year ago. Sam’s stage presence is astonishing, as he commands the stage with that endearing quirkiness that everyone seems to know and love. I was lucky enough to see these guys headline one of two nights at Sydney’s Metro Theatre (capacity 1500) where they put on one incredible performance. The theatre was packed with everyone from middle schoolers to members of the music industry, as everyone can relate to the idea of being a misfit and one point or another, which is part of the widespread appeal of the Brisbane indie pop outfit. “Surrender” was a definite highlight, as Sam was able to get the entire crowd to sing “it’s okay, it’s alright / it’s true terror in the middle of the night / give it up if it makes you feel better / so surrender, so surrender” in unison, creating quite a stunning moment.
At the rate that they’re going, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them breaking out in the States sometime in the near future. But for now, check out some photos and videos below, including a cover of The Flaming Lips‘ “Do You Realize??” in the Triple J studios.
Photography by Melissa Scheinberg