Modern Baseball Exhales

I wrote about A Goofy Movie, life at 23, and Modern Baseball’s new EP

Modern Baseball recently cancelled a string of Austrialian tour dates. “It’s time to put everything else aside to focus on making steps towards positive mental health,” lead singer Brendan Lukens wrote on Facebook. Speaking from experience, it’s never easy to admit you need help, especially with something like mental health. I’m willing to bet it’s even more difficult if you’re the face of a band on the rise, doing what you love, and touring the world. For that reason, Brendan’s honesty and his decision to take a step back is admirable.

“I was relying on alcohol and weed to get through any day of the week,” he told Noisey. “The only time I was getting out was when we were touring, which was a lot, but everyone else could notice a change because if we weren’t on the road or practicing, no one was going to see me. It was kind of like that for two years.”

Like any proper musician, Lukens channeled everything into music, compiling six songs into Modern Baseball’s The Perfect Cast EP and releasing it for free. It’s still very recognizable as a Modern Baseball project, but there seems to be a lot more candidness here. It’s a well worn narrative with bands of this age, but the maturity is coming.

Lukens criticizes himself, his actions, and his way of thinking. We hear his inner dialogue on the opening track, “The Waterboy Returns”:

“Hey you, that’s no way out
You can’t find help in a bottle or a cut”

He pushes for maturity from himself, acknowledging there’s more to write about than sad songs about jilted love:

“That’s so typical, Bren 
all you sing about is girls
Take a stand, man, you can find a voice 
that’s not haunted by old flings”

These guys seem world-weary but relieved. Lyrics acknowledge simply being tired on multiple songs, but I get the sense that it’s the kind of tired you get when you finish a marathon or finally hit the pillow after a long day. It’s a big, deep exhale.

“But everything is changing even faster than it was back then
You hold me
It feels like I am finally closing my eyes after a year and a half long day
And I am tired as hell”

Being a 23-year-old myself, I can sympathize with a lot of what Modern Baseball sings about. The transition from youth to adulthood and college to the real world feels like life is whipping past you at warp speed, and everything around you is constantly slipping through your fingers. I can picture the football player who just dropped an easy pass, staring at his palms wondering how he missed it. Life lately has me feeling like that pretty frequently, and so does this EP. Whether it’s the exhausting journey, change, self-improvement, or growing pains in relationships, this all feels extremely… 23.

The band’s next album, titled Holy Ghost, seems on track for release in the next few months or so. By that point, the guys of Modern Baseball (along with myself) will have graduated college and will be expected to contribute to the real world.

It’s an exhilarating and terrifying phase of life.

Complete with a title that’s a flawless Goofy Movie reference, The Perfect Cast is a pretty perfect EP in that it will hold fans over for a few months and set the table for what’s to come. This feels like the preamble for what should be an big album.