Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Album Review: The Perfect Cast by Modern Baseball

Modern Baseball have returned with a surprise new EP named The Perfect Cast. This summer the Philadelphian four-piece made the decision to pull out of an Australian tour with The Smith Street Band and the Reading and Leeds festivals to allow band member Brendan time to focus on dealing with his mental health issues. It was decided that it would be best for him and the band to stay home and help him recover rather than go ahead with the shows. This decision saw a massive and touching show of support from the punk scene all over the world which was really great to see. During this down time the band wrote and recorded this brand new EP. I'm a big fan of Modern Baseball and was gutted to miss them at Reading (one of the three reasons I’d bought a ticket) so I was excited to check out this new EP.

Opening track The Waterboy Returns is a startlingly honest song. It's about the struggles of mental health and the dark things that go through a person's mind. The opening couple of lines "Hey Man, You Can't Help In A Bottle Or A Cut, They'll Choose The Wrong Way To Remember You" is the most honest beginning to a song I've ever heard. As someone who has struggled with anxiety and depression I really related to these lyrics and think they are so, so brave. Musically this is typical Modern Baseball indie pop punk. Brendan's vocals can come across as whiny but the chorus is massive and feels like a celebration despite the subject matter. The second song Alpha Kappa Fall Of Troy The Movie Part Deux (Two Disc Directors Cut) goes along at a slower tempo. It follows a similar subject matter to The Waterboy Returns and talks about struggling to find somewhere where you feel at home and safe. I really loved the lyrics "Is Your Home Where You Lay Your Head Or Where Your Fake Swordfish Is Mounted?" The song goes along at a steady pace but never really hits any highs or lows along the way. Track three is called Infinity Exposed and is about putting on a brave face and trying to convince people that everything is fine when you manage to get over the anxiety of leaving your home. It also touches on the topic of what will happen when you can't put on the brave face any longer and how will the inevitable breakdown happen. 

The Thrash Particle is a real head banger of a pop punk tune. It starts out slow and sombre with Brendan's vocals in full story-teller mode. The song is about heavy drinking becoming an issue in a relationship. After the slower start the song really gets going with a pounding drumbeat really driving the song forward. For the final part of the song the key of the song shifts again into a more melodic style, encouraging a big sing-along for the ending of the song. The music at the beginning of song five ...And Beyond is brilliant. The way the guitars jangle over the simple drum beat is captivating and really pulled me into the song from the very first listen. The song is about trying to get over your problems and not throwing the great things you've worked hard for away. I love the gang vocals at the end of the track, it feels like a huge realisation between friends about needing to get better and how positive things are about to happen. The final track on The Perfect Cast is named Revenge Of The Nameless Ranger. Again, this song is a mid-tempo track that ruses some excellent lyrics to hook the listener. Modern Baseball have always been fantastic lyricists but they really seem to have stepped it up a notch on this EP. Revenge Of The Nameless Ranger is about not being the person you thought you were due to the state of your mental health. This is the song I related to the most; when I was at my worst, despite the brave face I was constantly putting on, everything was a struggle and I didn't feel like me anymore.

If you take the Perfect Cast as just a collection of songs you have a very good EP from an amazing young band but when you look into the meaning of the songs you discover that not only are Modern Baseball great as a band but they are four fantastic and brave people to release a record like this.

Download and stream The Perfect Cast here:

Like Modern Baseball here: