By Eli Shively, Reviews Editor
[Run For Cover; 2016]
Perhaps the most hotly anticipated pop punk release of this year, Philly quartet Modern Baseball’s Holy Ghost stands to be yet another tell-all entry in the musical diary of dual twenty-something songwriters Brendan Lukens and Jake Ewald. Judging by its first two singles, “Everyday” and “Apple Cider, I Don’t Mind” the pair’s individual styles are only getting stronger and more distinct with time. The singles were released as a pair, meant to be played back to back – and showcase the sharp-but-welcome contrast between the two.
Ewald’s “Everyday” leads off, a three minute-long slow burn chock full of hyper-aware lyricism that stays one step ahead of the listener at all times. Lines like “Everyday is all about doing things you don’t want to do / But you’re rewarded / You get to wake up,” are enveloped in low, droning vocal melodies and chord progressions that sound like they were taken straight out of Pity Sex’s book.
The first track ends abruptly, and “Apple Cider’s” explosion of open hi-hat and reverb-y, layered guitar picks up right where it left off. “Did you ever love me?”, Lukens shout-sings over the din of the instrumentation, establishing a sense of urgency only punctuated by the track’s sub-two minute runtime. The high, piercing whine of Lukens’s voice plays a perfect foil Ewald’s drawn out delivery – the icing on the delicious metaphorical cake of the ebb and flow the pair have been building up for years in their songwriting.
Perhaps the most important thing these two singles bring to the table, though, is a feeling of maturity. The MoBo guys have graduated to slightly more consequential “adult” problems from the college boy gripes of 2012’sSports, and the real-ness of grownup life can be detected in the lyrics as well as the instrumentation, both noticeably darker than ever before. It’s a welcome transition, one that will leave previous doubters impressed and longtime fans even hungrier for the full LP release.