“There's no great mystery with me, I'm sorry I am what I am, thanks for coming”.
- Sam Cromack
Who is Sam Cromack? Maverick, genius or just an average guy? Third Outing talked to Sam and listened to his début album Goodlum to unravel the mystery behind My Own Pet Radio.
It all started when Sydney based Third Outing writer Ben sent me a link one day, a link to a music video. I clicked play, sat down and listened to the song on repeat. It was mind-blowing. No Great Mystery, the first single from My Own Pet Radio's début album Goodlum, is quite simply said an absolute tune. The melody, the lyrics, the voice, the simplicity, the sound...it's almost the perfect single. 'There's no great mystery with me, I'm sorry I am what I am, thanks for coming'. This aforementioned chorus is sung with such a resounding acceptance, the song writing is truly way above what you expect to discover. It's some kind of achievement, to produce such a moment of clarity within a pop song.
But who and what is My Own Pet Radio, and where does it come from? Ah, the magic of internet. My Own Pet Radio is Sam Cromack's solo project. Sam who? Sam Cromack from Ball Park Music. Sam is in fact the actual leader of Ball Park Music, an indie band quite famous in Australia. I honestly did not know. But in a way, that's not a bad thing at all. It's good to start from scratch on these things, avoiding the 'previous band are better' prejudices one often develops when someone goes solo.
“It's lonely making music in MOPR, but I guess that's the point. It's an exploration of myself and I consult no one”.
Cromack goes from soft acoustic on Tangible Heart to weird electric instrumental on Don't Press Send, Companion, to cosmic pop on Pink Freud, all within the space of just three songs! Journos might criticise this, referencing a lack of consistency or style. But it's not what this record is about. Treat it somewhat as a showcase for all of the sounds which Sam is living and breathing everyday. No Great Mystery is safely the first 'mainstream' track on the record, and it shows the commercial direction Sam could easily take and succeed at. But the record has so much more to offer than one great pop song. The Hip Hop beat and monotone vocal on Goodlum are incredible. It's what you wish The Roots were still doing. Or Pharrell when he fronted N.E.R.D. It's something to do with that electric guitar, it dictates everything. It gets better though. Next up is the African atomic bomb Luv Basement Theme. It leaves you thinking 'where to next'? Here's where to...Never Ending Wave, a Jimi Hendrix love child, and then a chaotic saxophone madness called Iron Mike. The cherry on the cake is the final track which finishes the loop by returning to the soft acoustic maverick, You're Right, There's Nothing. How the fuck has he managed this? Incredible.