Philadelphia’s Modern Baseball is about as talented as they come on the pop-punk/emo circuit. The band’s debut album, Sports, showcased its wit and creativity through the use of tasteful acoustic guitars and interesting dynamic changes, which were particularly on display on Tears Over Beers. But if there is one characteristic that Modern Baseball conveys more than anything else, it’s spite. The band’s sophomore LP, You’re Gonna Miss It All, is a 30-minute journey through busted relationships, apathy, the spins and the constant struggle of wanting to hate that certain somebody that you didn’t hate before. Sit down, pull up some old Facebook pictures and get ready to feel.
In addition to featuring some creative tongue-lashing, You’re Gonna Miss It All expands on the musical ideas and tendencies that made Sports such a hit. The mood and tempo changes are more dramatic this time, as drummer Sean Huber, bassist Ian Farmer and guitarist Jacob Ewald deliver tight performances with confidence, especially on the single, Your Graduation, where Huber takes over the venting responsibilities for a verse. Additionally, the lyrical content transcends heart-on-the-sleeve to the level of heart-as-a-projectile. “I hate when you call me late at night/Just to check in to make sure I got nothing to be sad about,” admits frontman Brendan Lukens on album opener, Fine, Great. It’s the kind of feeling that washes over you before you admit that you sort of enjoy feeling angry or upset. Rock Bottom takes a moment to warm up before diving head first into the pop-punk anthem end of the pool, as Lukens exclaims, “I’ve got so much to do but whatever, forever.”
The Old Gospel Choir starts off with a toned-down Gaslight Anthem-type shuffle, before moving into an aggressive half-time beat, and finally exploding with crashing cymbals and more anthemic guitars to close out what might be the strongest musical performance of the album. From there, the band introduces a few surprises. Notes features some rootsy slide guitar, and Going to Bed Now mixes the band’s punk foundations with country twang with mixed results. Two Good Things transitions perfectly into the acoustic album closer, Pothole. Among dark and airy acoustic guitar plucks and string arrangements, Lukens provides a perfect summary for the album by verbalizing the thought of everyone whose ever had to stare at the ceiling for hours before finally falling asleep: “You are the ember of my heart/weather you like that or not.”
With two full-lengths now under their belt, Modern Baseball prove that they’re committed to honoring their pop-punk roots and influences yet remain unbound by them. The great thing about the emo-revival scene is that its fans welcome innovation, so long as they can listen and shout-along with lines of formulated emotions they always wished they could say out loud. You’re Gonna Miss It All provides those in bulk from a band that is only getting tighter with time.