There’s no real way to call a band ’emo’ without drudging up connotations of sideswept bangs and sobbing into secret notebooks, but bands of the genre (and I really hesitate to call it a genre) are often only connected by the rawness in their lyrics and vocal delivery. How else do you connect Cap’n Jazz to the Get Up Kids to MCR? Modern Baseball are a traditional four piece band out of Philadelphia. The guys are young, they go to Drexel, and their actual music falls somewhere in the pop punk/power pop divide: Straightforward, major/power chords, predictable rhythm section. But the music is less about complexity and more about the feel. Every song on this album triggers instant nostalgia. The lyrics are literal, full of blunt and honest descriptions and assessments, both of one’s feelings and the events unfolding around them. Parties, girls, drinking, friends…if all of this sounds familiar, that’s because it is. The thing about Modern Baseball is that they do it better than most- they come across as sincere, the songs are super catchy, and frontman Brendan Lukens’ voice carries angst without the whine. I can’t write songs like this anymore, I’m way too self-conscious- but I have a lot of respect for a band that can put themselves on the line, and not come across as contrived or pathetic. And I’m too busy with a thesis to be having girl problems, but if I did, I feel like I would have Modern Baseball on even heavier rotation.
“Your Graduation” is a stand out track on Modern Baseball’s second LP, You’re Gonna Miss It All. These guys are touring with a whole slew of pop/punk bands, and the closest they come to Kingston is Toronto on April 16 at the Phoenix. You’re Gonna Miss It All is out now on Run For Cover Records.