Brisbane’s melancholic pop masters Ball Park Music are made of five curious minds that thrive on musical experimentation. Their inventiveness is akin to that of UK supergroup Superorganism’s playful collaboration; the Avalanches’ ability to synchronise diverse genres, and Elliott Smith’s knack for carrying sadness with an honest wit.
It has been a tremendous journey since the five-piece formed in 2008 while studying music at university. In seven years, they’ve produced five albums – the last four having consecutively debuted in the top 10 of the ARIA charts. The band continue to sell out bigger venues each time they tour and regularly appear on the Australian festival circuit, including Falls Festival, Groovin The Moo and Splendour in the Grass.
2011 saw the release of the band’s highly acclaimed debut album Happiness And Surrounding Suburbs through independent label Stop Start, an album that solidified their aptitude for combining emotional complexity with an upbeat, arena-ready sound. Happiness showcased the rich melancholy in Cromack’s voice, which, wrapped in Jen Boyce’s warm, yet powerful harmonies, all the better compliments his oft absurdist and tongue-in-cheek lyricisms.
All its members proved crucial to what sets the band apart: Paul Furness’ keys flourishes, Dean Hanson’s willingness to push the boundaries of tone and Daniel Hanson’s genre-diverse drumming. Happiness secured six high rotation singles at triple j, was voted #10 in the station’s listener’s Album Poll and garnered the band the triple j Unearthed’s Artist Of The Year award. Just 12 months after Happiness came their sophomore record and ARIA top ten debut, Museum. Lead single ‘Surrender’ was triple j’s most played track in July; the album was featured as the station’s album of the week, and they were nominated for Channel V OZ’s Artist Of The Year Awards. BPM were selected by California’s Weezer to support their Australian tour, and also embarked on their first international tour, playing CMJ Music Festival in New York, and selling out shows in Europe.
While producer Matt Redlich was behind the helm on Happiness and Museum, in 2014 the band decided to take producing and recording into their own hands. They rented a dirt-cheap house in the northern suburbs of Brisbane and after a few laborious months over Brisbane’s stinking hot summer, Puddinghead was born. The band enlisted Grammy-nominated mix engineer Tony Hoffer (Beck, The Kooks, Belle and Sebastian) to polish the finished results.
The album debuted at #1 on the iTunes albums chart and #2 on the ARIA charts – placing second to INXS’s Greatest Hits album by just 21 copies. BPM received three songs in the triple j hottest 100 that year, with lead single ‘She Only Loves Me When I’m There’ peaking at #19 and becoming the most played song on triple j that year. Puddinghead was the ninth most streamed album in Australia in 2014.
In 2015, they performed several showcases at SXSW Austin, Texas, followed by two more European tours. No strangers to consistent experimentation, they decided to record their fourth
record Every Night The Same Dream to four-track tape at Sound Recordings in Castlemaine, Victoria. BPM proved that regardless of the medium they’re working within, the technically prolific musicians will master whatever is put in front of them – and what resulted was a critically-acclaimed psych-leaning album with long-winding, slow-building jams fit for an arena.
In 2018, their fifth record GOOD MOOD debuted at #6 on the ARIA chart and received ARIA Award nominations for Best Cover Art, Best Producer and Best Engineer. The euphoric single ‘Exactly How You Are’ landed at #18 on triple j’s Hottest 100 of 2017. With ‘Hands Off My Body’s punk-heavy exploration of self-image, and the poetic, endearing introspection of ‘I Am A Dog’, BPM have pushed themselves into new territory yet again.
Their national tour with San Cisco saw them play the biggest venues of their career, taking on hometown venue the Riverstage, Big Top in Sydney, Fremantle Arts Centre and selling out Festival Hall in Melbourne.