Baltimore / Philly indie rockers Modern Baseball have premiered their third studio album, Holy Ghost, containing 11 tracks and running for a brisk 27 minutes. The LP officially comes out Friday May 13, but you can stream it in full and read an interview with the band on The Bandcamp Blog.
Holy Ghost is a huge stepping stone for Modern Baseball because it's more personal and sentimental than their witty, sarcastic 2014 breakthrough album, You're Gonna Miss It All. Last month, the band put up a documentary on YouTube titled Tripping in the Dark, where guitarists / vocalists Jake Ewald and Brendan Lukens talked about how recent life events inspired their songwriting. Since the last album, Jake lost his grandfather and Brendan was diagnosed with bipolar disorder after a suicide attempt.
The songwriting for Holy Ghost was a split effort between Brendan and Jake, resulting in a more composed sound. The two talked to The Bandcamp Blog about being inspired by the Atlanta hip hop duo Outkast, the creative process, and how it all ended up fitting together:
Jake Ewald: Brendan called me many months ago and said, ‘For the next record, do you wanna do a Speakerboxxx/Love Below?' And I said, ‘That’s a great idea.’ And that is, no lie, how it came about. But as we started writing the songs, we realized, ‘Oh, this is actually really neat, because we can have our own little chunk we can focus on, and be really involved in what the order’s gonna be, and how the songs are gonna flow into each other.’ At the same time, Brendan and I were dealing with a lot of the same broad feelings. So it kind of ended up flowing nicely from one half to the other.
Brendan Lukens: I like listening to the record and thinking of it as coming from the same person, they just get really angry on the second side [Laughs]. The second half is definitely a little thrashier, and the first half is a bit more contained, and part of that is because we were in our own little worlds, and we could dial in our guitars and bass to fit the world we were in. It was nice to be able to dive in deeper sonically.
Side A is full of upbeat tracks with well-written lyrics over edgy guitar riffs like "Wedding Singer." A classic moment comes on "Mass," where Jake sings, "My baby's in Massachusetts and all this booze is useless." One of the previously released singles, "Everyday," is a catchy kickback with clever rhyme schemes.
"Hiding" starts off Side B, or Brendan's side, with a mellow acoustic guitar that builds up in an intense beat. "What If..." features speedy drums and a spirited hook. The album finishes strong with the triumphant "Just Another Face," where Brendan states, "I'm not just another face, I'm not just another name" over aggressive guitar melodies.
In the Tripping in the Dark documentary, the band make an opening statement: "We started Modern Baseball to be our journal, to be our outlet." Holy Ghost, a diary of incredible, emotional songs, shows that Modern Baseball may be heading toward a more serious sound, but they still know how to have fun.
Pick up Holy Ghost on Amazon.
Modern Baseball will be headlining The Holy Ghost Tour in support of the new album this summer with Joyce Manor and Thin Lips. For for their latest music, news, and tour dates, check out Modern Baseball's Zumic artist page.