Modern Baseball‘s debut album Sports is a run-through of the life of a guy just trying to figure life out. Taking a cue from groups like Say Anything, The Weakerthans and Snowing, the sound is catchy and honest. The guitars are melodic and distortion-free, creating a musical environment that lets its simplicity shine through. With broken vocals the songs talk about getting past girls and re-starting, subjects most everyone has experienced. Basically, if high school relationships had a soundtrack, it would be Modern Baseball.
The album starts off with “Re-Do,” which has a calm introduction covered by the words “I wanna start from the top/maybe like a do-over…” It’s a perfect way to begin this album and show you what you’re getting into. After the intro it kicks right into the meat of the song. Upbeat and dancy, the tune can’t help but bring a smile to your face. With a line like “No monumental moment ever came from saying ‘Come on, dude, just take one more shot’”, Modern Baseball lets you know that they’re having just as much fun writing these songs as you are listening to them.
The rest of the album follows the example set by the opener. The guitars are clean and open, the drums play nice with the chords, and the vocals ride over the songs like a skateboard on a sidewalk. Brendan Lukens’ singing isn’t perfect – it’s cracked and strained – but that’s where the magic lies. If Modern Baseball had a “normal” vocalist it wouldn’t be Modern Baseball; the music requires rough singing. It comes from the heart and makes the songs feel much more real, like the band is talking right to you.
Throughout the album there are references to social media sites, something that music has been very reluctant to discuss despite its prominence in modern life. For example, the song “@chl03k” begins with the lines “I’d rather spend my evening talking to Chloe on Twitter than have you come over so it can be like old times” and continues to talk about things like Facebook and iPhones. These are things that we, as a society, use so often but have somehow decided to try and keep them out of music (and art as a whole). Modern Baseball, on the other hand, has decided to take these websites and devices and incorporate them into the songs. It works incredibly well, giving a feeling of authenticity to a new world of social interaction that the musical medium so often disregards.
Sports is a glimpse into the life of a regular, awkward guy in the modern world. Using plain vocals and catchy chords, Modern Baseball’s release makes you feel at home with the band. They sound like the type of group that you could see live then go grab a beer with after the show – just some normal guys making some music that they love. I recently got to ask them a few questions so if you want to read the interview go here and check out what they have to say.