"Puddinghead: A Review in Three Parts", by Dunja Kay

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Ball Park Music. Photo courtesy Inertia Music.

Not everyone likes a conventional music review. Trying to gauge what an album is like based on a review is probably about as fruitful an endeavour as trying to write about music at all.[1] Accordingly, the question for many people is not “what is the artistic merit of this album?”, but rather “is it as good as their last album?” or “will I like this?”. This “Review in Three Parts” is my attempt to answer all three questions at once.

 

  1. What is the artistic merit of this album?
  2. Is it as good as their last album(s)?
  3. Happiness and Surrounding Suburbs
  4. Museum

 

Will I like this?

I’m going to assume here a lack of familiarity with Ball Park Music (as otherwise you’ll have jumped to Part 2 instead), in which case you probably fall into one of two categories.

  1. You are not a fan of the indie pop/rock promoted by Triple J.
  2. You are a fan of the indie pop/rock promoted by Triple J.

 

In a nutshell: You’ll like this if you like Ball Park Music, especially if you like Museum more than Happiness and Surrounding Suburbs. You’ll hate this if you hate Triple J, but I still think you should get over that and start hating something more worthwhile (or just stop hating things – you’ll live longer!). I would recommend never listening to “Next Life Already”, not even to check whether I’m being overly harsh, as you run the risk of being unable to shake it off for days. I would, however, recommend repeated listening to “Error Playin” as it’s divine and makes you think of a whole lot of love makin’ (and I am generally repulsed by the phrase “making love” but there ain’t nothing else for this little number).

All up, Ball Park Music have pulled together a cohesive LP that plays with some new sounds without discarding their roots, though how you feel about this will be entirely contingent on what you already think of Ball Park Music. For my part, I think Puddinghead is a mostly significant stride forward for the members of a band who could easily have chosen to rest on their laurels (or at least their popularity) but who instead chose to slowly stretch their sound and, consequently, their audience.

 

Dunja Kay is a writer based in Adelaide.


[1] Which may explain why I find it more interesting to write about albums and artists within some kind of cultural context than to write about music itself.

[2] That’s from their press release. I could’ve rephrased it, but I thought I’d give credit where credit is due. Namely, to whoever wrote the Puddinghead press release.

[3] I guess the same could be said of “She Only Loves Me When I’m There”, but that one gets a pass because it’s the quintessential radio-ready lead single. Also, it doesn’t suck.

[4] It’s not so much that I’ve come around, as that I started watching Carl Sagan’s Cosmos and couldn’t bring myself to “hate on” things that aren’t categorically evil. For guidance as to what makes something categorically evil, I refer you to The Moral Landscape, by Sam Harris.