by Damian Giampietro
Pop punk is not dead and Modern Baseball seems to be one of the few bands keeping it alive.
An emotional rollercoaster from start to finish, Modern Baseball’s third album “Holy Ghost,” released May 13, delivers nostalgic memories of former lovers, a certain warmness due to the band’s heartfelt and creative lyrics and a whole sound that seemed to be missing from previous work.
The band seems to have settled into their ever unique vocals that offers a delivery of self-aware and painful lyrics, which is now backed by the more focused and powerful musical composition.
This is unlike their freshman effort, “Sports,” and sophomore album, “You’re Gonna Miss It All,” which both sounded a bit more like sound searching.
The album is split into two parts with guitarist, Jake Ewald, writing and singing the first six tracks, the rhythm guitarist, Brendan Lukens, penning and vocalizing the final four and both members splitting the work on a track in the middle of the album.
The band also includes bass guitarist Ian Farmer and drummer Sean Huber, who both sing backing vocals throughout the album.
The second track on the album, “Wedding Singer,” is an in-depth exploration of a family member’s death, with Ewald singing lyrics like “I always wonder if you’re smiling at us or if you’re looking away” and “friction flies me back to Baltimore to wait for you but I’m stuck here too,” instantly becoming a relatable song for the wounded.
A music video was released for this track, ramping up for the album’s launch, and follows a young man who leaves a funeral brawl only to be picked up by a woman with a pink pixie cut driving a hearse.
On the eight track, “Breathing In Stereo,” a song littered with anxieties about being separated from a lover, Lukens belts out “Why does it take two thousand miles for me to say ‘I love you’?” which really solidifies that this band finds their best sound when lost in pain and confusion.
This album is a diverse offering of fast and medium-paced songs, with only two slow songs, “Everyday” and “Hiding,” grounding listeners before they’re thrown back into heavier territory.
Modern Baseball’s past efforts were unlike anything pop punk fans have heard, experimenting with an intimate sound and matching it with moving performances.
But “Holy Ghost” combines the previous statements with the band’s revival of authentic emotion and their obvious work ethic to mold a classic album that proves that their little taste of success was leading to something much bigger than themselves.
The Philadelphia-based band kicks off The Holy Ghost Tour May 25 in Nashville and ends July 3 in Tampa, aided by Joyce Manor and Thin Lips.