I was fascinated to hear this record, an electronic spoken-word collaboration between Ballboy’s Gordon MacIntyre and Maja Mångård, (who is Swedish, and might just be his wife, but I’m not certain) but I would say that it is really only partially successful. Some of it really is good, and some just doesn’t quite click for me, but it’s definitely an interesting record.
This album feels a little like an extension of the instincts which drove McIntyre to write I Hate Scotland during his Ballboy days – a rambling, contemplative monologue set to music. I don’t know enough about Ballboy’s back catalogue to make any kind of statement like that definitively, but it certainly feels like a large step in a similar direction.
The lyrics are absolutely key to music like this, and these remind me very, very strongly of Belle & Sebastian. Beautifulgirlsunnyledges could easily be one of theirs, although don’t take that as a disparagement of the song, which is really lovely. This kind of unrestrained stream of consciousness is present on most songs: McIntyre just seems to set a thought loose in his brain letting it flit around, just to see where it will go. At times he veers towards deeper thoughts, but most of the more profound musings are lightened either by very dry humour or by gentle whimsy. He’s not fannying around at all, just making sure we know he isn’t taking himself too seriously or trying to solve all the world’s problems in a three-minute pop song.
Lyrically and musically, er, whilst I like an awful lot of this, it can veer towards being just a little bit soft from time to time. The electronics have just a little too much tweeness and niceness in them, compared to the glitch and skitter which I tend to prefer. And the lyrics can, slightly in the way of the recent MJ Hibbett & the Validators album, seem just a little middle-aged from time to time. What I mean by that is, I guess, just a little more inwardly focussed and domestic than I might personally expect. This is no surprise, because Gordon is more veteran than tyro, nor is it any shame exactly, it’s just something which prevents me connecting with the lyrical content from time to time.
So for all there’s a lot here which I really like, there’s also a fair bit which I don’t quite connect with. It’s a really interesting album though, and I am always impressed by people who push in radically different directions after making music of a certain type for a long time.
[audio:http://dearscotland.com/audio/Money Cant Buy Music – Beautiful girl sunny ledges.mp3]
more mp3s here
Buy the album from the Ballboy website
Also on the Ballboy website, the wonderful Ballboy podcasts.
Ballboy video from Vic’s Music Show below.