(feat. track – “Rock Bottom" [spotify])

Modern Baseball are kind of a funny case. I’ve been familiar with the band from their very earliest days – they’re friends and classmates of Zack’s, and we’ve been covering them at PropertyOfZack from the jump.  They seem like good people, the kind of kids that make you want to root for them. And yet, I have to confess that I was never fully on board with them musically. Their 2012 debut album Sports made some waves in the Philly basement punk scene, but I never got much out of it – it was too rough, too amateur, too hookless for me to latch onto. To be frank, I didn’t even really see much promise in them.

I think that’s why You’re Gonna Miss It All was a grower, not a show-er, for me, even as the band began landing steadily-larger tour slots and commanding media attention from outlets beyond those that consider them personal friends. It took me a while to give the album a real chance, to listen to it with truly open ears; it was only on the fourth or fifth play through, in as many months, when it finally clicked with me. 

I think part of the issue is that I was listening with an ear tuned toward either Philly pop-punk or the #emorevival, and while Modern Baseball have the relationships that tie them to both movements, their sound is something outside of both, and altogether much harder to pin down. It’s vaguely reminiscent of what might happen if the Front Bottoms had decided that it’s been too damn long since the last Weakerthans record and just went ahead and made it themselves. There are elements of indie-pop, and folk-punk, and half-twangy Americana. Hyper-thesaurused term paper dissemblances and plainspoken dormroom chatter intermix in a way that seems logical, and natural, like a dialogue between two halves of a whole college student. And, throughout, sweet melodies, often (smartly) soured, and shout-along lines aplenty.

You’re Gonna Miss It All isn’t an all-the-time listen for me; there are some bits that, even now, feel a bit too obtuse to be cracked open – and I fear that if I did there might be noting but dust inside. Still, there’s no longer any denying that these guys are on to something really, really singular and special. I don’t know when the next MoBo album is coming; but I do know that this time around I’ll be waiting for it with anticipation.