First published on 13 Oct 2011.
Triple J Unearthed winners Ball Park Music have birthed a punchy debut that is so upbeat it, at times, can make glitter look maudlin. Happiness and Surrounding Suburbs has one hell of a funny bone with some lovely little satirical flourishes when the mood takes them. It also boasts some punchier tracks like “literally baby” and “rich people are stupid” that are just crying out to be seen live.
Ball Park Music can clearly pen a catchy tune but this record is a high five; it makes you feel really good, but only for a second and sometimes it stings a bit. Whilst toying with different sounds drifting at one moment into sugary hilarious pop with ‘Sad Rude Future Dude’, and another into the floating folk-ish sounds of ‘Alligator’, each track alone is not strong enough to pull the band in one definitive direction and the confused mixes of genres, styles and moods interrupts the albums momentum. However Happiness is an album that is all about giving a few things a try.
Happiness and Surrounding Suburbs follows the “bouncy song, slow song” method and they do deliver what they promised, which is an album of facetious, sunny pop music that borders on the hysterical at times, and at the end of the day that’s the best any artist can hope to do.