Modern Baseball is a band part of a genre that is full of copies and unoriginality, so with that looming over each and every track they produce and the possibility of being swallowed by a pool of pop punk trash, how do they stick up to the competition?
Turns out, absolutely amazingly well yet tragically badly… The lyrics of each and every section of the album are like teenage poetry that could make even the 17 year old jock cry, laugh and or smile all within a thirty minute period. However having said that there are areas which the album suffers from repetition and bland progressions that really reduce the album from an invention retrospect.
The first track Fine, Great is a bitter sweet track about teenage love and it’s qualms and naivety. My favourite track off of the album, it combines bouncy accompaniment with again lyrical genius that applies to every student around the world who is trying to juggle the promise of a career with love, friendship and all the lovey-dovey stuff of teenage-hood. The song manages to kick the album off with an emotional stir which impacts well. Great start…
The next track, Broken Cash Machine, is completely the opposite. Boring accompaniment backed up by pretty stereotypical lyrics and sounds like a worse repeat of the song you’ve just listened to. Whether it is fault of the singers lack of range or just lack of imagination, this track really just didn’t hit on any level other than boredom for me.
Rock Bottom then picks the album back up off of it’s feet with lyrics again that are applicable to so many (now who’s the repetitive one) and a vocal hook that brings a smile to my face and many others that I have listened to it too. Perfect for a wintry evening with friends chilling with a beer having a genuinely good time.
The next six tracks I can pretty much skip because on the repeat listen I did anyway. Again stooping to bland melodies and harmonies that were a bit too predictable and a bit too deflating; the album needs some more uplifting vibes in there so you don’t feel overwhelmed by depressing themes. The problem again is also the singers voice just stays in monotone way too often so it just feels like songs merge from one to other with the only part of the melody changing being the syllables that are pronounced and the timings the lyrics are uttered. Also the tracks are way too short, you can go through three tracks in six minutes which is fine if each song is a memorable and recognisable but due to their being virtually no riff other than strumming some minor chords, it just feels like on six minute long forgettable song. I mean it’s horrible that I have to skip almost half an album to just get to the next song that I actually find worth listening to, perhaps this is why I’ve reverted to listening back to so much Fish Tank and CHON recently. It comes across as lazy song writing and when it doesn’t it comes across as lack of musical capability.
Your Graduation comes on finally and the album lifts to back up just in one song. It does everything right for a song in this genre. The lyrics, the vocal melody, the instrumentation, the structure are all perfect areas and makes it a genre staple; an absolute anthem for any state side fan to listen to! With the introduction of dual singers, and the first vocalist actually singing new more individual melodies that are memorable and hummable, it makes the songs impact so much more forceful on me. If every track on the album was like this I would have no problem whatsoever giving the album a 9/10 but sadly this isn’t the case.
Two Good Things is a pretty good track to follow it up to vary the mood again but I still have the resounding impression of over-depressive feelings from it. The instrumentation, structure and harmonies I enjoy a lot and I think they are pretty stylistic too but the lyrics themselves just feel like they are muttering the same broken hearted theme again and again and again.
The final song tries its hardest to create a heartfelt anthem but to me it sounds like just another attempt at portraying a bland topic using max reverb for sensual effect. It doesn’t work for me.
Don’t get me wrong there are some songs that I personally love from Modern Baseball, Tears Over Beers from the Sports album being in my top 10 favourite songs of all time purely for its progression and lyrical value. But this album just took one concept and stretched it for 25 minutes too long.
5/10 – Would of been lower if hadn’t been for the excellent anthem Your Graduation as well as Fine, Great also hitting heartstrings from the get go. Carried by two tracks…