by Andrew Garrison
Modern Baseball, the Philadelphia four piece released their sophomore LP today, You’re Gonna Miss it All. Much like their earlier work, Miss it All is mostly (actually, exclusively) composed of very cool, brief and funny little narratives over punk guitars and fast, hard drums. To me, this style made Miss it All an incredibly enjoyable album to listen to. With most songs running well below the 3 minute mark, our little musical vignettes told mostly by Brendan Lukens’ bookish, near monotone vocals provide the listener with quick, quirky and frankly relatable stories covering a range of emotions from outright remorse to general melancholy and the occasional angst, apathy and more.
Leading off with “Fine, Great” sings about some sort of thinly veiled distaste in how someone (presumably a girl because she complains about how her has “Instagram stopped working”) often calls to see how our hero is doing, although it’s rather apparent she really doesn’t care. In “Broken Cash Machine” we are home alone on a Friday, reminiscing about an old girlfriend, lamenting about how things have collapsed, and staring so intently at her old pictures that his eyes are burning holes through them. “Rock Bottom” perhaps contains my favorite lyrics of all time, “My head is on the verge of exploding/ No amount of aspirin or pizza can help this from hurting.” Mainly because, again, it is so damn relatable. “Apartment” slows things down at first, when talking about meeting a girl and speeds things up when we address the inevitably nervousness of trying to talk to her, and “dreaming of conversations we’ll have tomorrow”. “The Old Gospel Choir” leads off with a slower, marching sounding snare, and later breaks into a higher tempo when talking about heartbreak, of course. “Notes” is my sleeper pick for best song on this album. With a nice even, albeit slower, pace addressing the song to a gal with long dark hair, writing to remind her of their conversation, which she might not recall, because she’ll be “sea green in a wastebasket tomorrow.” We are given another great lyric in here, when talking about an ex who was his, “trophy shelf of slip-ups/ untamed hormonal shitshow.” “Charlie Black” has a fair amount of angst and the mandated “whoa,whoas” that are legally required to be on any/all punk albums. “Tommy Bowers” leads with some wailing guitar feedback that ultimately clams into a downright remorseful track, prominently featuring the line “I’ve been living more like a piece of shit without you.” “Your Graduation” is the standout track on the album. Mixing in some more hardcore vocals, with high speed punk sounding instruments, Lukens talks about uncertainty, and perhaps regret, with lines like “I spent most nights awake, wide awake/ I never thought that I would see the day where I would let you go and walk away” after encountering an ex who is “Too drunk to stand”. Our last two tracks, “Two Good Things” and “Potholes” are a bit slower than most of the other tracks. “Two Good Things” seems to focus on self reflection, and along with it, a hint of self loathing. While “Potholes” recounts the feeling of “walking home alone, after walking you home” and the general sadness that comes along with it.
When You’re Gonna Miss it All hits, it is absolutely outstanding, as exhibited in “Notes” and “Your Graduation” and even some of the songs that will ultimately be less listened to, are still really, really good. I personally love the styling of the short, often morose and always clever narratives. They have a level of self awareness and understanding of the plights of 20 something year old dudes, which makes each track significant in its own way. With all of this paired with generally fast guitars and an all around well executed punk rock sound, I officially deem You Gonna Miss it All a must listen album. I know we are only six weeks into 2014, but this album is slated to be a favorite of mine for a while and I will be downright surprised if it doesn’t make my Best of 2014 lists in December.