Friday, February 7, 2014

Gut Feeling: Modern Baseball - You're Gonna Miss it All

Modern Baseball – You’re Gonna Miss it All
Run For Cover, 2014

At this point, in my curmudgeonly post-college radio days, I’m mostly OK with limiting my exposure to new bands. The stable of bands I love release albums in alternating years and I can easily max out at discovering five or so new bands a year and be wholly satisfied. Such are the laurels of someone who spent a solid three-and-a-half years trying to listen to every new band in existence on the hunch that for every hundred shitty bands I listened to, there were at least ten that I would love and maybe one that would change my life.

Things are different now. These days, I troll the internet for bands that look like they might hit that sweet spot on my heart that vibrates at a frequency equal parts 1990s college rock, early 2000s pop punk, primordial and heyday 1980s and 90s indie pop, and if I’m lucky, something that satisfies all three. And a band name that doesn’t make me want to shout “PASS” from the goddamn mountaintop. Modern Baseball satisfies most of my prerequisites, and while they’re not going to change my life, I did spend the entire day greatly enjoying to their two LPs. All because I love baseball and their name was reminiscent of the band American Football. That’s all it took. Sometimes I’m easy.

Modern Baseball’s great triumph is their ability to write totally earnest songs without being self-aware in re their emo leanings. These guys are too young to be pretentious fucks. Just look at these guys! There’s just so much joy packed into these songs of youthful heartbreak, buoyed by pop-punk sensibilities but orchestrated with a surprising amount of professionalism and innovation. They’re not reinventing the wheel, but these dudes know how to effortlessly execute hooks, big satisfying guitar blasts, and a real, honest sense of fun. It’s all thoroughly charming.

On the nuts and bolts side of things, most of the songs hover around the two-and-a-half minute mark which gets an A+ in my book (note: my personal opinion on song length is if you go over three minutes, you better have a good goddamn reason) and feature enough surprise stylistic change ups, clever and playful lyrics (“Sharp as a tack not in the sense that I’m smart I’m just a prick” is the line that permanently endeared me to this group) and the hooks hit the pleasure centers in my brain while simultaneously tugging at my heartstrings which get set off by the glorious sound of of pop punk being used for good instead of mainstream evil.

Here's the terrific lead-off track "Fine, Great," but you can stream the full album over at Pitchfork if you want an earful.

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