You may not know Modern Baseball, but I’m hoping that, one day soon, you will. This Philadelphia based, genre-transcending, (I’d call them a mix of pop-punk and indie rock) four-piece released their debut, “Sports,” back in 2012, an album many in the scene consider to be an instant classic. The boys are back with their Run For Cover Records debut, You’re Gonna Miss It All, and it does not disappoint.
The album abruptly starts with “Fine, Great”, setting the tone for the album with the lyrics, ‘I hate worrying about the future/Cause all my current problems are based around the past.” It’s an upbeat jam that builds from beginning to end, giving us a sense of who Modern Baseball is. From the wordy, emo brand of lyrics to the loud, drum-heavy chorus, the opener shows you exactly what you’ll get from the next 11 tracks on the album.
The album, as a whole, is reminiscent of the sarcastic, wit-based songs from bands that came before them, including Say Anything and Motion City Soundtrack. You can hear a bit of Max Bemis (Say Anything) and Justin Pierre (Motion City) throughout Brendan Luken’s pandering about friends, girls, heartbreak, and cheap beer.
And that’s what is so enjoyable about this album. There is little complexity to these angsty tracks and there’s nothing wrong with that. Only one song, “Going to Bed Now,” passes three minutes, while the rest stick to the familiar punk format of 2:10 to 2:40. The lyrics are, at times, cheesy and nearly painful to listen to, but they are sung with such confidence that they never take away from the overall quality of the album.
The instrumentals are solid and tight, often building to head-bobbing climaxes. Jon Low’s mixing gives each instrument its own personality, letting each shine through without muddling together. It’s nice to hear Ian Farmer’s bass breathe on these tracks, instead of keeping it as quiet as possible like many pop-punk records do. Brendan and Jake Ewald’s guitars work well together especially on the chorus heavy tracks. It’s really Sean Huber’s enthusiastic drumming that carries the record, setting the pace with big snares and a driven kick drum.
The most intriguing songs come from tracks eight and nine. Track eight, “Tommy Bowers,” slows things down with an acoustic guitar backing up Brendan’s story about a girl who left him worse for ware. Track nine, “Going to Bed Now,” brings things back up, opening with a country-sounding drum roll, leading into a walking bass line. In fact, the entire verses feel country-influenced, while the chorus is classic Modern Baseball. It’s nice to hear something a bit different from the rest of the album in these two songs.
The finale of the record, “Pothole,” slows things down once more, giving us an emotional end to a fun record. It’s not exactly how you might expect this lyrically tongue-in-cheek album to finish, as it is the most serious track. Another acoustic guitar driven song, the final seconds fade out with Brendan telling someone he loves, “You are the ember of my heart/Whether you like that or not.” It’s actually a powerful end to You’re Gonna Miss It All.
Overall, this is a fun, well-made album that reminds pop-punk fans of some of the bands that came before. However, it also adds a bit of a unique twist on an often stale genre by mixing in some indie rock and, oddly enough, country elements that aren’t found on most punk records. If there’s one complaint about Modern Baseball’s sophomore effort, it’s that these unique elements are few and far between. It makes one wonder if more interesting changes to the pop-punk format could have bettered an already stellar record.