THE GRADE A
BOTTOM LINE Graduating from emo revivalists to full-fledged indie-rock force.
Modern Baseball enjoyed a breakthrough year in 2014 thanks to the Philadelphia-based rockers’ cleverly written album “You’re Gonna Miss It All” and a growing fan base that pushed them to the top of the growing emo revival.
On their new album, “Holy Ghost” (Run for Cover), however, the band, led by singer-guitarists Jake Ewald and Brendan Lukens, takes a more ambitious run at describing the far larger, more emotionally complex world in which the 20-somethings now find themselves.
It was a clever move to split “Holy Ghost” into halves. The first features Ewald’s songwriting, with his more detail-oriented, self-contained rock approach, including the standout track “Mass,” where he buoyantly rolls out the problems of life on the road, aided by unexpected harmonies that give his complaints more weight. Lukens’ half is angrier and more intense, with “Breathing in Stereo” recalling the early days of Taking Back Sunday in both structure and passion.
But Modern Baseball’s influences and skills are obviously growing by leaps and bounds, especially when “Apple Cider, I Don’t Mind” unspools in all sorts of unexpected indie-rock directions. That inventiveness makes Modern Baseball one of 2016’s most promising breakout bands.