It's quieter than their last, 2004's The Royal Theatre, and from the admittedly far-off vantage point of America, the band seems to be all but dormant. Their website lists no tour, and if not for an eMusic new-release RSS feed, I wouldn't have known this record existed. Things might seem to be winding down for Ballboy, but from the sound of Ships they're finally hitting their stride.
Take the album's centerpiece, "Songs for Kylie":
A love affairAnchored with a rolling, hypnotic piano line, this little paen to musical and romantic obsession and wistful paralysis is one of those tunes you can accidentally listen to for hours, unconciously hitting replay time after time. Go listen on MySpace.
You loved me then, I was almost sure
And now I write it down
Put it on a TDK in a jiffy bag
And seal it up
And send it off
Mark on it in thick pen
Songs for Kylie
Before the desert there’s a moment
You can change your mind.
"A Famous Victory" is more queasily dead-on confessional, managing to find that magic songwriting space where irony meets sheepish honesty, where hazy delusions of grandeur don't quite obscure sad reality: "We drink ourselves stupid/On the tennis court/That’s overgrown/In the private grounds of the crumbling house/Your parents own".
Get the record at their site, or download from eMusic.
MP3: Ballboy - Let's Fall In Love and Run Away From Here (Peel Session)
MP3: Ballboy - I Lost You But I Found Country Music