I love the name of this band; something about it is just so tongue in cheek for me. Until last night, I had no idea of their existence; however one of my friend's stated that at the moment this is one of his favourite acts in the world. Now he is usually on the money (anyone that can personally get Fishbone, Sick Of It All and other great acts to play a small stage in the North East of England is a fucking hero); this man is also one of the most generous people I know, so when he suggests a band I like to give them a check out. So, on to the band themselves (instead of my bro-mance love letter)..... Modern Baseball is a band from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in the USA, they have been going since 2011 and this is their second release. Three of the band members have been friends since high school and they met the rest of the band at Drexel University. After the release of the first album 'Sports' they left Drexel to pursue the band full time. They are currently doing good business in the USA, but does this make the album any good?
Starting with "Fine, Great", you have the acoustic chart, teenage angst that goes into an indie/punk mish-mash of pre-pubescent angry that is aimed at no-one and everyone. It sounds like a drunken argument that I am sure I once had with myself and I lost (think about it for a moment). The argument seems to continue with "Broken Cash Machine" as the world is to blame for collapsing onto itself. This indie punk music is very catchy, but each time I find myself starting to listen to the lyrics I find myself wanting to hurt myself; the lyrics are awful and this song makes the whole of Homegrown's back catalogue sound like Dream Theatre. "Rock Bottom" is again a musical sound song, very reminiscent of the Ataris, but again the lyrics are an awful teenage diary that should have been burnt years ago. "Apartment" is the first song on the album that sort of works, the music is very bouncy and it is very enjoyable, so guess what? The lyrics are just bad instead of awful; it is not great but it is a step in the right direction.
"The Old Gospel Choir" is the best song of the album musically by a country mile, it just has a great quality in the indie punk way; but once again any good work you have on here is ruined by the lyrics. I am sorry if I am sounding like a broken record, but my deity this needs to be said. It is making a decent album sound like the work of people who have not been blessed with the gift of hearing. "Notes" is a strange one, the music is a little meh on this one and the lyrics are not awful. It is as if they both have cancelled each other out, making a song that just falls a little flat. "Charlie Black" starts with the line "I'm pretty good and feeling sorry for myself", well I know how you feel as I guess that you’re listening to yourself as well. Actually, that one is a little harsh on this song; it is one of the most complete songs on the album that does not make me want to smash the walls with the teenage angst that is coursing through it (although it does try its best). Also, musically it is spot on. "Timmy Bowers" has the acoustic guitar out again; this song is another tale of regret and loss for someone who is not really worth giving a shit about. Again, the further into this album I go and there is a charm here; the only problem is that I got over some of this stuff many moons ago. With that said, the music here is once again spot on.
"Going To Bed Now" is the ninth song on the album, it sounds like indie/punk mating with a cowboy tune. It is not good; in fact it is awful in a way that would make Nicki Minaj interested in covering it. Yep, I am not a fan of this one to be honest. "Your Graduation" is next and the familiar pattern of great song is here for all to see. The music is very good, but sounding like a fucking idiot because you got dumped and the other person said no to you just ruins what could have been an interesting song. "Two Good Things" is a lot better musically again, it is also better lyrically but only just. Musically it is dark and brooding, full of a sound that would make for a better future for the band. Lyrically, it is more of the same as the rest of the album, but with a little less self pity (but not that much). Ending the album is "Pothole", an acoustic tale of that teenage angst that has been the source of this album' words. I think you can sort of guess what I am going to say next......
Ok, I will get the bad bit of this over with now. When this band finally grows up, they will look at these lyrics and feel a deep sense of shame that they put their collective teenage diary on display for the world to see. Honestly, I have heard more intelligent words from Blink 182 and they had a song called "Fuck A Dog". It might be cool in front of your friends, it might make you feel brave, it does not sound good. There is a time to have your teenage paddy and it is not on record. However, musically there is something to like about this band. It is a not too complicated and they do make good music, but in the end they are let down by the lyrical musings that make One Direction sound like The Cure. Sorry Steve, but this is a band I would gladly move to another town to avoid, but still it is a cool name for a band. All the marks are for the music alone, sans lyrics.
2 out of ten - If only there was some quality control
Top track - The Old Gospel Choir
You can purchase the album from Amazon here
You can follow the band's activities via their Facebook page here
You can also check out some of Modern Baseball's earlier works on their Bandcamp page
You can listen to the album on Spotify here
Here is a link to listen to the album for our Deezer users