Reviewed by Mark Plummer
Indie-pop meets pop-punk is quickly becoming a personal favourite genre. As they put their own twist on this genre – namely a country twist, Modern Baseball could possibly be the band to turn around anyone who is yet to be sold. The angst of Brand New meets the charm of sweetly crafted riffs, giving this a winsomely, nonchalant appearance. The richness in diversity is evident; lyrically it may feel quite unilateral, yet there is an abundance of musicianship, elevating this release past that of an album with just one listen in it. The acoustic guitars, the strings; the rawness and light tread of the electric guitar; the vocals that occasionally drawl and whilst nasally, are part of the essence of this release. Here is a band who haven’t just stoked the fire, but rather chucked a ton of aerosols into the flames and watched the result explode in a lick of majestic musical madness.
Tracks like Apartment are light-hearted, yet have so much going on underneath; the drums are urgent and the pace is a quick, managing to rein everything in on a song that clearly wants to explode is no easy feat, yet it’s skillfully controlled. It would be foolish to believe that Old Gospel Choir is a slow-moving piece, it’s anything but. The first minute exudes calmness, before the rest of the band jump in adding a frenzied heartbeat; then before you know it, the tempo has slowed into a half-time feel and it’s back to a chilled ending; all this in two and a half minutes of song.
Elsewhere, Notes shows off a great country twang as the acoustic and electric guitars work with each other; Charlie Black is gritty, bass heavy and carries the sort of jump-up-and-down chorus that wouldn’t go amiss at a summer festival; whilst Going To Bed Now seems to stick fingers up at todays modern society and those kids who leech off their parents: “[…] as he drains his dad and mommy’s monthly data plan; an asshole, with an iPhone”.
Short but sweet; intricately woven; refreshingly direct in its output. I could have summed up this review with just those three statements, but where’s the fun in that? This release deserved high praise, so that’s what it’s got. At times it does seem to skim over tracks, ending before they can really begin, but that would be nitpicking in a release of such calibre.