In some ways it seems that Brisbane indie-pop five-piece Ball Park Music have had a meteoric rise since their 2011 debut Happiness And Surrounding Suburbs. In reality the hard yards put in on tour up and down the country and a song-writing craft of a quality well above the average Australian pop bands plying their trade right now have put the band in the position they’re now in. This third album sees them moving increasingly away from the punchy, upbeat mood of their debut, as singer Sam Cromack’s lyrics explore darker topics, especially on ‘Everything Is Shit Except My Friendship With You’ and ‘Struggle Street’; the addition of organ and choral touches on the latter providing a particularly Gothic feel. Dark is contrasted with light at several other points, although hopefully Cromack is being sarcastic with his claim on third track ‘A Good Life Is The Best Revenge’, because we all know that’s not true. There are new sounds too; the first half of ‘Cocaine Lion’ could almost be called shoegaze, before breaking out into a resplendent pulse of ’90s alt-rock, while ‘Teenager Pie’ is a lazy, lounge-y track that ambles along at a hazy pace despite another set of dark lyrics. There’s an undeniable tail-off towards the end, with ‘Polly Screw My Head Back On’ and Girls From High School’ being a fairly dull finish, but Ball Park Music should probably dust off their formal gear and ready their acceptance speeches; this album is going to win awards. (Stop Start)
NORWEGIAN indie-pop five piece Highasakite haven’t had the pleasure of visiting our shores just yet, but singer and songwriter Ingrid Helene Håvik is already busy forming an image of Australia in her head.
“I know you have dingos there,” she says. “And those big animals that jump; I don’t remember what they’re called. And I’ve heard the food there is amazing. Actually, it’s so far away that I don’t know anything about it. I think we are coming to Australia at some point – and I don’t know if I’m allowed to say this – but the plan is to go maybe around September or October some time, and then in maybe February 2015. We’re just starting to plan it now, so it’s not a solid plan yet.”
The Bon Iver-approved band’s new album Silent Treatment will be released on April 11th, and is an ethereal and expansive affair, with all songs written by Håvik.
“We’re really excited,” she says. “We hope a lot of people are going to hear about it and we love playing it for people. The album is already out in Norway, so we have played everything and we’re touring with the material in the States right now. I’d probably call our style indie-pop music, or even just pop music to be brief. [My lyrics] are based on all sorts of things; from dreams I’ve had [which] I write down and use later, and many different things from different places. I can only write at home when I’m really isolated, not on tour.”
The Oslo-based band’s origins can be traced to the Trondheim Jazz Conservatory, where Håvik and drummer Trond Bersu began to write and record together – in English.
“I sing in English because it’s more natural to me,” Håvik says. “I’ve listened to music that is in English my whole life, and I’ve never really listened to any Norwegian lyrics before. English is the music language for me. It’s more natural for most people in Norway to sing in English; to sing in Norwegian is more of a curiosity in Norway. To be singing in Norwegian is pretty special.”
An already hectic touring schedule was recently made busier with an appearance at SXSW, and being added as support to growing global stars London Grammar.
“[SXSW] was really a lot of fun and super busy,” Håvik says. “People came to our shows and that’s all we were really hoping for. We played four shows and had to cancel one; our crowd sizes were never embarrassing, so it was all good fun. We saw a Norwegian guitar trio band too, but that was all I managed to see. Supporting London Grammar on tour has been going really well and it’s been a lot of fun. We’ve had full houses and everything. In the beginning we were really nervous when we started playing the new songs, but we’ve played a lot of shows already with this new material, so we feel pretty good. After the London Grammar tour we’ll be going home to Norway. We’ll be doing some shows in Europe and some summer festivals, and we’re going to the States again in May. Then we’re going to Japan.”
Silent Treatment by Highasakite is out April 11th.