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Album Review

Fastball – ‘Sonic Ranch’ [Album Review]

Fastball’s new album ‘Sonic Ranch’ fuses layers of introspection with astute lyrics and catchy grooves displaying their pop-rock songcraft.



Fastball ‘Sonic Ranch’ album artwork
Fastball ‘Sonic Ranch’ album artwork

Sonic Ranch, the new album from Austin, Texas, platinum-selling, Grammy-nominated pop-rock band Fastball, is due on June 21st. This will be followed by appearances on a triad of SiriusXM shows, including Lithium, Lisa Loeb, and Eric Alper, and headlining tour dates running from June to September.

Except for “Rather Be Me Than You,” produced by John Fields, the album was produced by Grammy-winner David Garza at El Paso’s world-famous studio from which the album takes its name.

Discussing recording at Sonic Ranch, drummer Joey Shuffield shares:

“It made the music better, it made us closer as people. It made us a better band and continues to this day. Now we all talk about everything all the time, and it’s a wonderful place to be. I love the level of communication we have. I love the closeness that we have on a personal level and a professional level, and that translates into the way we create music.”

Fastball comprises Miles Zuniga (vocals, guitar), Tony Scalzo (vocals, bass, keyboards, guitar), and the aforementioned Shuffield (drums, percussion).

Of the ten tracks on Sonic Ranch, high points include the opener, “Rather Be Me Than You,” with its pop-punk-laced melody, driving rhythm, vibrant vocals, and glowing harmonies. The song captures the imagination of listeners from the get-go with its bright and breezy mood.

Tinted with washes of psychedelic textures, “Daydream” conjures up sensations of dreamy, Beatles-like surfaces, featuring gentle, gleaming guitars forging a deliciously undulating melody topped by Zuniga’s musing voice, at once beguiling and painted by subtle nuances.

Fastball, photo by Caroline Le Duc

Fastball, photo by Caroline Le Duc

A tender love song, “Grey Sky Blue” blends hints of folk and pop into an endearing lullaby-like expression of warm affection reminiscent of early Bob Dylan. An unassuming sparkling piano infuses the tune with charming accents, revealing impassioned attachment.

A personal favourite because of its luscious swaying motion and evocative, silky harmonies, “Island Of Me” flows on velvety, shimmering guitars that imbue the song with profound, poignant emotions, evoking a drifting ache of yearning for lost love.

Fastball’s stellar ninth album fuses layers of introspection with astute lyrics and catchy grooves displaying their pop-rock songcraft.

Sonic Ranch Track Listing:

1. Rather Be Me Than You
2. Daydream
3. Hummingbird
4. Get You Off My Mind
5. Grey Sky Blue
6. America
7. Let Love Back In Your Heart
8. On And On
9. Island Of Me
10. I’ll Be On My Way

Run Time: 31:11
Release Date: June 21, 2024
Record Label: Sunset Blvd. Records