Modern Baseball - Sports
Record Label: Lame-O Records
Release Date: November 27, 2012
Sometimes, an album takes you by surprise. Sure, you’ve heard tracks by the band previously and you had high enough expectations, hence you picking up the album in the first place, but you didn’t expect to be particularly taken aback by it. You certainly didn’t expect to find yourself casually raving about how *insert somewhat unknown band name here* is the “best band ever!” after only a couple of listens to the record, but hell, that’s how it happens. Modern Baseball are one of these bands. Previously, all I’d heard was a split with Marietta, released early this year, and a handful of demo tracks, and whilst they were promising, Modern Baseball hadn’t quite established themselves as protegees, more ones to watch. So, their first full length, Sports, was a record to look out for rather than a highly anticipated one. However, by Jove, it’s a lot more than that. It appears that Modern Baseball are certainly the best band you’ve never heard of.
Modern Baseball are of the midwest emo ilk, however they veer more to the pop punk side of the spectrum. Sports is filled with twelve ‘average kid from an average town’ anthems, but they certainly aren’t average. Whether its the off kilter, conversational vocals, the intelligent but accessible lyrics or the bouncy but unique instrumentation, Modern Baseball have managed to create an almost perfect debut. Each track is completely different to its predecessor, with the album flying from the nerdy teen relationship anthem of “Tears Over Beers” to the almost stadium rock like pomp of “The Weekend”. Throughout the album the lyrics never take themselves too seriously, however some of the lines of are utterly excellent. “Re-Do” sees the singer discussing his “Unrequited love for life” and “Tears Over Beers” scathingly describes the typical high school story of the pretty girl who falls for a useless meathead. Modern Baseball’s approach to small town boredom and girl problems is quite puzzling. If one was to describe an album which features lyrics about tweeting and pretty girls falling for jerks, instantly some very puerile pop punk album would come to mind, however in the same way The Perks Of Being A Wallflower has an ultimately refreshing, realistic take on the teen novel genre, Sports does the same for teen pop punk.
The songs themselves, whilst quite short, are extremely memorable. Opener “Re-Do” kicks off the album with a driving riff and bounce that invites the listener instantly to get lost in the jaded life of the narrator. The aforementioned “Tears Over Beers” and “The Weekend” are two of the catchiest songs of the genre this year, and lodge themselves in the listener’s head, whether or not they’re wanted. None of the tracks on here slot easily into any genre, with sounds fluctuating from pop punk back to emo forward to pop, ensuring that the release never gets boring. The token acoustic “I Think You Were In My Profile Picture Once” is actually very pretty with bells and female/male vocals, and succeeds where so many other acoustics fail by coming across as very genuine.
Actually, this is one of the best features of Sports. Every word, chord, beat comes across as genuine and so easy to relate to. Modern Baseball are a band who’ve experienced everything you have but just happen to be better at expressing how you’re feeling than you are. Sports has a similar vibe to The Wonder Years’ The Upsides, however, with Sports , Modern Baseball express the emotions that the listener feels whilst they listen to The Upsides. They’re a band for every kid. In the same way that people look back at Take This To Your Grave and Deja Entendu now, don’t be surprised when Sports is the classic on everyone’s lips a few years. Honestly, this is the best album released within this scene in 2012. Get behind these guys.
Totally agree with this. Stumbled upon this band via someone reblogging a song on Tumblr and listened on Spotify. I've got the LP on the way and must've listened to it about 10 times in the last 4 days.
One of my favorite albums of the year by far. The vocalist is charismatic and endearing. The album reminds me of old Say Anything The 1 minute or so tracks really pull the album together and make it feel personal.
Stand out tracks:
"Hours Outside In The Snow"
"See Ya, Sucker"
These guys are a part of a pretty cool "Twinkle Emo" scene going on in Philly. I don't really know them that well, more acquainted through friends/bands etc. There are a lot of bands to keep an eye on coming out of Philly like Modern Baseball, Girl Scouts, or Marietta.