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For the last decade, ‘emo’ has been considered a dirty word. A tag for generic rock bands who wear all black, paint their fingernails and write sad songs about vampires with acoustic guitars. However, Modern Baseball’s debut record ‘Sports,’ with its subtle pop punk influences, harks back to the days of Sunny Day Real Estate and Dashboard Confessional, when ‘emo’ music was synonymous with brutal honesty, drenched in nostalgia, and relatable to all who listen.
‘Sports’ is infectious. It leaves a greater impression the more you listen to it, until eventually you’ve got it on repeat for weeks on end. It’s not musically complex, nor is it particularly unpredictable, but its undeniable familiarity is strangely comforting and each song, although most come up short of three minutes, possesses an indescribable charm.
Beginning with teen anthems such as ‘Re-do’ and ‘Tears over Beers,’ the tone of the album is immediately set up to be an upbeat and matter-of-fact reflection on the mundane existence of the modern adolescent. Pop punk front-runners such as Man Overboard and The Wonder Years have taken a similar approach, but the quiet sincerity of Modern Baseball sets them far and apart.
The casual energy of the vocalist is a fitting partner to the melodic bounce and glide of the instruments, and in ‘Cooke,’ a standout of the record (although you’d be hard pressed to choose just one) it’s clear that Modern Baseball have a knack for writing one hell of a catchy tune.
With frequent references to Facebook, Twitter and other similar generational slang in songs like ‘@chlo3k’, Modern Baseball could easily be accused of being gimmicky. However, it’s the surprising honesty of lyrics like “the dreams you had, they’ll collide with time” and “I’m thinking way too much at night,” that win over even the most cynical of us. ‘I Think You Were In My Profile Picture Once’ and ‘Coals’ add an acoustic flavor to the album’s collection of indie sing-alongs with a tambourine and sweet female vocals sweetening the mix.
There has been a lot of recent hype surrounding what is basically a band of college kids writing about their own personal experiences with growing up. Absolutley justifying all the fuss, ‘Sports’ is a solid release that has taken the emo and pop punk markets by surprise and established Modern Basement as a band to watch intently in 2013.
2. Tears over Beers
5. I Think You Were In My Profile Picture Once
7. See Ya, Sucker
8. Look Out
9. Play Ball!