Formed on the streets of Philadelphia at Drexel University, Modern Baseball has recently taken the world by storm. Their rise to popularity in the pop punk scene seems almost unparalleled, having become an iconic band to many fans in just over two years.
When Modern Baseball released their sophomore full-length, “You’re Gonna Miss it All” in 2014, many fans and critics thought the band could not get much better. The album was brimming with ironic and cynical lyrics paired with undeniably catchy hooks, the perfect blend for any pop punk band. But since the release, Modern Baseball has matured not just musically, but as people. With that comes the next installment into their musical discography: “Holy Ghost.”
The album, which is written in two parts, details the emotional turmoil the two lyricists of the band experienced since the last record was released.
Jake Ewald, who wrote Side A of the album, sings about experiencing the loss of his grandfather, getting back in touch with his family and, more importantly, getting back in touch with religion. Brendan Lukens, who takes Side B, wrote songs documenting his battle with bipolar disorder as well as finally being able to seek the help he knew he needed.
Both halves of the album seem to flow together in a beautiful way, transitioning in a song titled “Coding These to Lukens” where Ewald sings the first half and Lukens finishes the piece.
Unlike their previous albums, Modern Baseball decided to ditch the quirky, cynical lyrics and instead provided emotional, heavy and haunting imagery. The album begins with the lyric, “He’s been haunting my dreams at night/ I’ve been bleeding from tripping in the dark/ Trying to turn on the light.”
Not only have the lyrics of the band taken a more mature tone, but the instrumentals follow suit. The music on “Holy Ghost” is much heavier than seen on previous albums, full of pounding drums and angry vocals.
While every song on the album could be considered a stand out, “Wedding Singer,” “Hiding,” and “Just Another Face” seem to be the tracks that have fans and critics most excited.
“Wedding Singer” was the first song of the album to have a music video, a tragic story about a man at a funeral who is having a mental breakdown as the band plays the soundtrack to his life in his head. The upbeat track takes the listener by surprise in a relatively heavy album otherwise.
“Hiding” is the acoustic hidden gem on the album. If the band was bigger, there is no doubt the song would be on the soundtrack of the next feel-good indie movie. “Hiding” lets out Ewald’s self-reflection perfectly in the lines “Still some nights I find/ The ideas that bring me rest/ Are the ones that used to prod and pester and keep me up/ Swinging open doors I swore I’d shut.”
The album ends with the song “Just Another Face,” which reminds the listener why they started listening to Modern Baseball in the first place. While the song begins with self-deprecating lyrics, it ends on a note of hope and redemption as the instrumentals behind Lukens’ voice wail almost as powerfully as he does.
Listening to “Holy Ghost” is almost like going through an emotional journey full of loss, self-reflection and ambition alongside the band. “Holy Ghost” was definitely an exciting trip, and I cannot wait to see where Modern Baseball takes us next.