Ball Hog | ONE | Ball Hog Music
Both goofy and rabble rousing at times, Ball Hog’s first album, ONE, gives an accurate glimpse of the band’s live performances, as well as providing a vessel for its political views. Ball Hog guitarist and singer Rev Carr explained that the band wanted to give an accurate portrayal of its live sets with its debut release. He said that the band felt it was very important to let its audience know what to expect from it in person, which is a testament to the Ball Hog’s belief in the power of putting on strong, ball-breaking live shows.
And it’s true – Ball Hog’s live shows are consistently captivating and energetic. The band’s performances showcase its songwriting skills, as well as its technical talent, spirit and energy that communicate the message of its music so strongly. Ball Hog – which consists of Carr and Ralph Lowi on guitar and vocals, Kara Attrep on bass and vocals and Rob Wallace on drums – doesn’t disappoint with its ability to bring both a punk aesthetic and a level of sincerity to the stage. While the majority of its music is highly influenced by punk rock, Ball Hog can also go out on tangents, as it does on “Mongol Chic,” a song that resonates as being highly influenced by pop rock, a kind of psychedelic diversion into the depths of oddity.
In addition to this, the lyrics throughout the album are much more audible than the band’s live performances can be, effectively and effortlessly communicating Ball Hog’s political views – it rails against the neo-conservative (and neo-liberal) politics currently running our country. While political views like Ball Hog’s are by no means unique to the music world, the band approaches their grievances toward the Bush Administration in a new and quirky way.
Ball Hog doesn’t take itself as seriously as a lot of other punk or political bands out there. Case in point: “Homeland Security.” With its Sesame Street sing-along interludes and cacophonic and chaotic choruses, the song manages to approach fear politics on a global level with a sense of humor. After all, how much fun are fanatics and fundamentalists who take themselves too seriously?
The content – and delivery – of Ball Hog’s ONE strikes me as absolutely necessary for America’s contemporary anti-establishment discourse. There are a lot of things about modern-day politics that can be incredibly discouraging, but the release of albums like ONE, and the impact of their contemporaries – most notably San Pedro’s the Minutemen, from which Ball Hog got its name – remind us that living in America gives political dissidents a voice.
I would highly recommend checking out Ball Hog either live or via their studio album. The band has gone on hiatus for the remainder of Spring Quarter due to “academic opportunities within higher learning,” but will undoubtedly begin touring Isla Vista and Santa Barbara again soon.
[Rebecca Riley will be rockin’ out this Thursday at Biko. Come watch.]