Review: Modern Baseball – MoBo Presents: The Perfect Cast EP
MoBo Presents: The Perfect Cast EP Featuring Modern Baseball
Modern Baseball are in the midst of a momentous transition. After cancelling a string of Australian and UK tour dates earlier this year, frontman Brendan Lukens in taking control of his mental health, and as such, ditching his go-to of high school heartbreaks and early-twenties turbulence. Combining that with the restructuring of how they write and produce songs, the Philadelphia quartet have culminated their progression thus far into MoBo Presents: The Perfect Cast EP Featuring Modern Baseball – a surprise five-track EP that holds just as much importance as a full-length release, if not a galaxy more.
What stands out the most about The Perfect Cast (we’re shortening the title, because fuck, that’s a mouthful) is how distinctly personal it feels. MoBo songs have always had a striking level of self-awareness and a “meta” vibe to them, but here it feels like Lukens is speaking directly to himself, without the veil of a cheesy pun or social media reference to lighten the mood. Opening tune “The Waterboy Returns” is polarising to say the least, as the 23-year-old trades his standard fare of crushes and social anxiety for a confronting wake-up call that brings him head-on with the issues he’d previously brush off or make a joke out of.
It’s not something we’re used to hearing from Modern Baseball, but then again, so is everything else on this EP. Whereas the band would previously shy away from layered instruments and multi-tracked vocals, both are present at almost every turn here. All four members wrote and recorded their own parts for the first time, and it shows. Especially on tracks like “Infinity Exposed” and “The Thrash Particle”, Ian Farmer’s groove-laden basslines dance fluidly with riffs both electric and acoustic, Sean Huber’s lo-fi drumming the cherry on top of an eruptive punk-driven sundae.
Recorded in the early stages of their third album Holy Ghost (set for release in Autumn 2016), The Perfect Cast serves as both a swansong to Modern Baseball’s signature indie quirk, and an introduction to the heavier, rock-oriented style they’re set to explore in the future. It may be jarring to some of the fans devoted to their earlier sound, but the EP is a perfect bridge to connect Holy Ghost with 2014’s You’re Gonna Miss It All. It’s a record about coming to terms with adulthood from a band that have spoken so prophetically against it prior, and a record that sounds more collaborative, dynamic and mature, but not in any way boring.
Although it’s their shortest, thrown together at the last minute and released without an official announcement, The Perfect Cast is Modern Baseball’s most honest and authentic outing yet. If the intention is to make us hyped as all hell for Holy Ghost, consider this a mission accomplished.
MoBo Presents: The Perfect Cast EP Featuring Modern Baseball is out now via Lame-O.