From the happy quirkiness of their debut album to the exploratory nature of their sophomore launch, to the dynamic quality of their third release, Ball Park Music have developed an ambitious and fascinating sound with their fourth album, Every Night The Same Dream. 

It would be an understatement to say that Ball Park Music has come a long way from their debut album, Happiness and Surrounding Suburbs. Although their fourth album still has elements alluding to their original sound, as well as the newfound maturity and creativity of Museum and Puddinghead, their fourth release is an amplified version of all three. The Brisbane five-piece is known for their clever lyrics, whirlwind instrumentals and unique twist on classic vibes that sit them firmly within indie-rock territory, yet, with their latest release, they have excitingly propelled themselves to new heights.

Ball Park Music have meticulously curated an album that not only spotlights their inimitable talent but demonstrates their ingenuity through the way in which they have impressively refined their sound. Singer Sam Cromack perfectly captures the tone of each individual song, turning the whole album into an over-arching and thrilling narrative, while Jennifer Boyce, Paul Furness, and twins Dean and Daniel Hanson establish the intensity, emotiveness, and technicality of their instrumentals. The group has declared this their most ‘ambitious’ album to date, and that intention is clear; they know what sound they want to create, the moods they intend to evoke, and they’ve done so with a sense of certainty in their aspirations and confidence in their execution.

In simple terms, one could say that their songs transition from ‘happy’ to ‘sad’, but that would be downplaying the inventiveness of their creation. Their first three songs are whimsical, embodying upbeat and catchy vibes. However, by the time the release visits track ‘Whipping Boy’, the melancholic lyrics sharply contrast against the energetic pop sound. The fusion shouldn’t work as well as it does, but it’s an interesting decision nonetheless.

By the time the release reaches ‘Pariah’, the tone shifts, but not in a way that lacks cohesion to the established sound. ‘Pariah’ is a seven-minute long epic, mostly comprised of instrumental jams. It’s an intermission, a brief reprieve, and a contemporary interpretation on psychedelic sensations which conjures dreamy feelings. The intro and outro are the result of hard work, whereas the middle part of the song, the strongest in its instrumentals, was a live improvisation recorded entirely in one take and embodies the fantastical, lamenting theme of the song. Track five, ‘Nihilist Party Anthem’, has been declared the “antithesis to their debut album’s ‘It’s Nice To Be Alive’” for it is the musical personification of the jadedness of adulthood, rather than the giddy innocence of youth. Lyrics such as ‘cause life is awful/and you know it’ accentuate the cynicism of nihilism, cleverly juxtaposing with the bubbly pop instrumentals.

The following track ‘Peppy’ slows it down a little as it manifests into a dance of tones and emotions that simultaneously oppose and harmonize with one another. The penultimate ‘Blushing’ followed by the conclusion of ‘Suit Yourself’ have lyrics of ‘heartbreak … works from the inside out/and messes with your mind’, strongly exemplifying that narrative transition. It’s a thoughtful choice and one that explores their abilities, but rather than conflicting with the previously established tone it undoubtedly complements it.

Every Night The Same Dream is clearly a progression of their previous sound, but with their increasing musical sophistication epitomized through the high quality of their arrangements and production, old and new listeners will find themselves enthralled and haunted by the sound they have created.

Every Night The Same Dream is out now via Stop Start.

8/10