A personal album that places Modern Baseball at the top of the post-punk genre
A lot of people treat pop-punk as blanket term for generic songs about hating your home town and missing your girl/boyfriend. It’s the term people associate with ‘Teenage Dirtbag’, Blink-182, ‘In Too Deep’ and scrawny guys wearing tank tops and snap-backs. It’s even a phrase which has become synonymous with pizza….
“He’s been haunting my dreams at night…..”; Modern Baseball’s new record ‘Holy Ghost’ opens with a slow, sombre title track which band member Jake Ewald wrote about the death of his grandfather – not your typical ‘Pop-Punk’ song. That’s what initially strikes you about this record, it’s pop-punk but not as we know it, the sound and style is there but gone is the generic lyrics and strong themes designed to help the listener connect. Instead this is a very personal album from the boys from across the pond, not dealing in the vague and relatable but instead in the specifics.
With the LP split in two with the first half written by Jake Ewalds and the second half by Brendan Lukens each portion has its own unique qualities and personal touches and yet comes together brilliantly as a whole.
In songs 1 to 6, Jake takes the reigns steering the album through the style synonymous with the bands first 2 albums but a lyrical style that comes across as more personal tha reflected on previous outings. The song ‘Holy Ghost’ feeds into ‘Wedding Singer’ which is what one would call a ‘classic’ MoBo song. The subject of the first music video of the album, the song (and video) reflects one part of the theme for Ewalds half of the album – finding someone. The rest of Ewalds half follows suit with building on a sound which the band had previously cemented as their own.
On the B-side Lukens takes over and introduces a slightly ‘thrashier’ sound to the band which has only been seen in glimpses on the previous albums. Each song is a short burst of a dark room, lonely night shout along. Last year MoBo cancelled a series of dates so that Brendan could go to rehab having being diagnosed with bipolar disorder – a subject which is covered in their documentary ‘Tripping In The Dark’ – and the struggles he has faced are covered in the second half of this album. This comes through clearly in the last song ‘Just Another Face’ which attacks the subject in a refreshingly honest and frank way – opening with “I’m a waste of time and space / Drifting through my selfish ways” – the song reflects how difficult it was for Lukens to open up about the subject and how facing his problems effected him and the band.
Despite Lukens and Ewalds attacking different themes in each side of the record, it somehow comes together as a whole and becomes a musical biography for the band since the release of ‘You’re Gonna Miss It All’. Each personal touch on this record dispels the theory that something must be generic to be relatable and will, without a doubt, grow Modern Baseball’s already substantial following.
This Modern Baseball article was written by Luke Priestley, a GIGsoup contributor