If I were to label the music of Modern Baseball, genre would not be the most adequate descriptor. It fits with some difficulty into the category of pop punk or emo, but even that requires a bit of beating them into a mold. As pretentious as it sounds, a better characterization of the four man band from Philadelphia would probably be a lifestyle. Their discography-from the short, low key Nameless Ranger to the pleasingly off-kilter Sports to their most recent venture,You're Gonna Miss It All, evokes a clear image of modern post adolescent angst. If the band’s music was personified, it would be a guy sitting on the couch in his basement with friends, drinking cheap beer and watching some trash show in a haze of smoke. They all text, occasionally firing off a snarky comment at the idiocy behind the television screen. The guy remarks that he’s “so done” with his girlfriend, and the fighting. Meanwhile, he checks his phone and sees that she still hasn’t texted back.
The band has made great leaps in production within the span of a few years. You're Gonna Miss it All showcases more exploratory instrumentals and lyrics, far from their undeveloped yet relatively recent first album. Modern Baseball plays with a much larger influence of genres here, from the easygoing indie rock opener “Fine, Great” to the slight country twang of “Going To Bed Now”’s first couple of verses. Something the band pulls off well is the transition to ups and downs, notably bouncing around from fast and slow tempos and different beat intensities, often within a single song, such as in “The Old Gospel Choir”. It ultimately keeps the album interesting, although I did find myself wishing that the group would allow certain songs to evolve naturally, rather than setting up fresh, genre busting openers only to return to their default sound a third of the way through.
The album marks a lyrical strong point for the band’s career, flaunting the emotional, honest imagery of the life of a young millennial who is simultaneously fed up with and obsessed with the idea of love. The sincerity of the free verse-like words and raw, realistic detail make up for the hopefully purposeful self involved tone and limited perspective. Others have noted that lead singer Brendan Lukens has similar vocal qualities to The Mountain Goats’ John Darnielle, which was the first thing to come to mind when listening for the first time. In another act, Lukens's voice might come off as out of place or grating, but fits perfectly in to the band’s youthful, distinctly New England spirit.
All in all, You’re Gonna Miss it All provides a nice balance of style and substance, giving artistic romanticization to themes of drunkenness and indulgence as well as listenable and surprisingly thoughtful tunes. It’s a high point for the band and carries the feeling of nostalgia for times that haven’t yet passed, and with any luck, it's only the beginning of a long and thriving music career.
8.2 / 10
Posted Aug. 6, 2015, 4:17 p.m.
Funeral Sounds record label has released a compilation to raise funds for Casa Ruby, an LGBTQ+ organization and safe space in Washington, D.C. Available at a pay-what-you-will cost, the ...
Posted Jan. 5, 2015, 10:39 p.m.
Lame-O Records has announced a 6-way split titled Strength in Weakness. The split features Modern Baseball, Spraynard, Beach Slang, Marietta, Hurry, and The Weaks, and is a benefit for United ...
Posted May 14, 2014, 7:43 p.m.
Modern Baseball, who recently released You're Gonna Miss It All, will hit the road joined by The Hotelier, Tiny Moving Parts, and Sorority this June 1. Dates are listed ...
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