3.75 / 5
Standout Jams: “Going to Bed Now”, “Fine, Great”, “Broken Cash Machine”
I discovered this band a few months ago on Spotify while listening to other pop punk groups like Turnover, Into It. Over It., and Balance and Composure. Modern Baseball is on the same record label, Run for Cover Records, as Turnover and Balance and Composure. That label has some great bands. Modern Baseball is no exception.
Modern Baseball is a fairly new band based out of Philly where band members attend Drexel University. Fun fact: despite their name, the band has no affiliation with baseball or sports of any kind. They recently released their second full-length in two years, the highly anticipated follow-up to Sports. I am a big fan of some aspects of Sports, but there were some aspects I felt could have been improved upon.
It’s always an important step for a band to improve with their sophomore release. Modern Baseball really did that. A couple of my friends listened to the album from cover to cover the other day and one called it the best album he’d heard in a long time. I don’t know if I could go that far, but there is no question that this is an excellent album.
The singer will probably never have a great voice, but that’s okay for this music. It works for them. It helps convey their image as typical college kids. In fact, if he did have a “perfect” voice capable of winning a show like American Idol or The Voice, it would take away from their music. However, assuming this band sticks around for a while, they’re going to have to mature beyond this “college” phase and that might require a little bit more vocal ability. For now, it’s all good.
The lyrics are primarily based around their experiences as college students, especially regarding the angst involved with asking a girl out/talking to a girl etc. In this way, the lyrics are pretty commonplace for a band of their age. As a college student myself, I don’t mind the lyrics. The lyrics are certainly nothing magnificent compared to lyricists like Jesse Lacey of Brand New or Conor Oberst of Bright Eyes, but that’s also just not the type of the band they are. What they do may not be grandiose but it works and it’s fun music.
Most songs on this album have rocking choruses. A lot of times with pop punk, you can already tell where a song is going with the chorus before it begins. Modern Baseball is different; it always seems like they step up their game for the choruses which is really exciting. I will admit that the verses tend to be boring at times in some of their songs, but certainly not always.
“Going to Bed Now” is my favorite track on the album (it’s also posted below for your listening pleasure!). Like many of the other songs, the verse in this one isn’t incredible. The second half of this song is really awesome though. The lead guitar and changing rhythms in the second half of the song take the song to the next level.
“Two Good Things”, while I didn’t list it as a standout jam, probably has the best chorus on the album. It has a darker tone than most of their other music. I’m hoping that their future music heads in this direction (darker tones, strong vocal harmonies). We’ll see!
Overall, I was thrilled with how this record came out. Especially for a self-recorded and produced album, it rose well above my expectations. All of their music is incredibly catchy and encompasses what pop punk should be. I can’t wait to hear them as they mature further in the future. Having said that, this is not a perfect album. I wish the tracks were more consistently good throughout and that the lyricism penetrated deeper topics. Regardless, this is an album that I’m going to be listening to for a long time.