Modern Baseball
Holy Ghost


4.0
excellent

Review

by Conmaniac CONTRIBUTOR (70 Reviews)
May 10th, 2016 | 399 replies


Release Date: 2016 | Tracklist

Review Summary: “For the next record, do you wanna do a Speakerboxxx/Love Below?”

Who knew the emo/pop-punk band Modern Baseball would attempt to pull off an Outkast with their third studio album, Holy Ghost" Granted, Brandon and Jake decided to split up their halves of the album into a respectable 6 and 5 songs instead of OutKast’s impressive double LP. Still, the near-even split of songwriting duties and vocal responsibilities between the two lead singers makes the listening experience more than intriguing.

Jake’s side begins with the haunting opener ‘Holy Ghost’ that almost seems to tease what’s to come on the album. The fleeting melody builds to a drawn out ending filled with feedback and tension and is immediately resolved by the bouncy guitar riff from ‘Wedding Singer’. As the first few tracks progress, the hinted developed maturity seen in The Perfect Cast fully breaks through due to Jake’s songwriting abilities. The song structures are tighter and the lyrics are more focused and poignant, as Jake sings about distinct, personal memories. Tracks like ‘Mass’ call out the names of “ruthless” waitresses and “Valero bathrooms”, yet despite how particular and precise these anecdotes are, they embody a sense of universal despair and longing, a theme quite common throughout the album. Most songs are tinged with a sense of yearning, yet all find themselves to be clean-sounding tunes with elements of pop punk and indie rock.

As the impressive acoustic to full band track ‘Hiding’ ends, Brandon’s half of the album begins with an immediate sense of angst, anger, and sloppiness. Drawing from some punk influences with the short song lengths, up-tempo beats, and punchy, distorted guitars, Brandon’s side reveals that it is a much different beast than Jake’s. Songs like ‘Breathing in Stereo’ and ‘’What If…” display Lukens’s desperation and despair front and center, as Brandon himself clumsily spills his guts about depression and uncertainties. Brandon confesses, “I don’t know what I’m doing anymore” and “I’m lost, forlorn I can’t do this alone. Alone, I feel safe” on both tracks. There is a bitter sense of hopelessness present throughout this half of the album, as almost every song fully embraces dark themes head on with no sense of shame.

The two halves prove to be connected in a way, as many themes and ideas carry through in the lyrics and melodies. However, musically, the separate halves are much like the before and after results of running home in the rain. In the first state, you’re fresh and tinged with excitement for the task ahead, yet you still have a sense of resentment towards the dark, unforgiving weather. This contrasts the soggy, messy state you’re in as you step inside, yet it shares the bitterness your past-self held for the weather in an intensified fashion. The contrast, although somewhat disruptive to the overall flow of the album, works in a strange, beautiful way.

No song connects the entire album in a better way than Lukens’s closer “Just Another Face”, which is his longest song by almost 2 minutes. It proves to also be his tightest song and the best on the entire album, as he holds back the fast paced tempo and restrains his brooding guitar for the poignant and pessimistic lyrics “I’m a waste of time and space”. The anticipated yet satisfying explosion of the choruses perfectly caps off the album. Holy Ghost is a mature departure from the witty Sports and the charming yet refined You’re Gonna Miss it All. With Modern Baseball’s third LP, they prove that it’s still possible to convey loneliness and desperation in an exciting and, at times, catchy manner.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
May 10th 2016


24364 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Usually don't have to site sources but the summary quote can be found here blog.bandcamp.com/2016/05/09/modern-baseball-premiere-holy-ghost-talk-growing-up-and-calming-down/



Album is streaming there and record is for purchase on Run For Cover's bandcamp



Criticism is welcome as always!

Trebor.
Staff Reviewer
May 10th 2016


56439 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

you fucking beat me to it goddamnit

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
May 10th 2016


24364 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

oh damn a 3? and you're a contrib Treb you can post it whenever and it'll be the cover review

Trebor.
Staff Reviewer
May 10th 2016


56439 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I know lol, great review by the way



This album is not very good. I appreciate it more than I like it

It deserves a gold star for effort, but the songwriting just isn't there, and Jake is not a strong singer

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
May 10th 2016


24364 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

thanks man. and yeah idk I def understand that, I wished Brendan sang a bit more but Jake holds his own IMO. You gotta admit that the closer is one of the best songs they have ever made though

torts
May 10th 2016


4300 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

good review, band finally rules

Trebor.
Staff Reviewer
May 10th 2016


56439 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Wedding Singer sounds like a shitty Menzingers b-side with 100 times worse vocals





Feather
May 10th 2016


5093 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Great review, album rocks

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
May 10th 2016


24364 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

wow bumping that rating down Treb ):...I thought it sounded like a TFB song tbh.



and thx @tort and @Feather!

Trebor.
Staff Reviewer
May 10th 2016


56439 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

The two singer/concept album bar in the punk/emo genre is just way too high



Even The Wonder Years pulled this off better and ya'll know how I feel about them

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
May 10th 2016


24364 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

what other albums do this in this genre, out of curiosity?

Trebor.
Staff Reviewer
May 10th 2016


56439 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

The Lawrence Arms - The Greatest Story Ever Told/Oh Calcutta (two singer/concept)

menzingers - like everything (two singers/concept kind of)

wonder years - whatever garbage shit they put out I forgot (concept)

pinkerton (concept)

braid (two singers)



none of these split the vocals by sides, I know a couple of bands have done that but I can't think of any



Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
May 10th 2016


24364 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

huh interesting. guess it's not too unique in the genre, but not a lot of revival bands have done the same thing it seems like

Trebor.
Staff Reviewer
May 10th 2016


56439 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I mean the main problem with the revival genre is that it's all been done before





Atari
Staff Reviewer
May 10th 2016


24372 Comments


nice job on the review

still processing this, but it's not bad

Digging: Gorguts - Colored Sands

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
May 10th 2016


24364 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

thanks Atari, and yeah took me 4-5 listens to really get a sense of what I thought about this album

SteveP
May 10th 2016


99 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Small error - I think you meant "The Perfect Cast" when you talk about maturity being hinted at. The Nameless Ranger is their first. Good review tho bro

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
May 10th 2016


24364 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

shit nice catch, thanks SteveP!

Atari
Staff Reviewer
May 10th 2016


24372 Comments


3.3 sounds about right, I'm just torn because sometimes I think it's great but at times it's just decent

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
May 10th 2016


24364 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

fair, I guess. I liked this more on the latter listens but Just Another Face stuck out immediately



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