The Baseball Project
Volume 2: High and Inside
Mar 08, 2011 Web Exclusive
With High and Inside, everyone's favorite baseball-loving indie-rock super group —Steve Wynn, Scott McCaughey, Peter Buck, and Linda Pitmon—is back again with the second volume of its odes to the national pastime. And this time they have brought their friends: Death Cab for Cutie's Ben Gibbard, The Decemberists' Chris Funk and John Moen, Yo La Tengo's Ira Kaplan, Los Lobos' Steve Berlin, and The Hold Steady's Craig Finn, among others. The result is a laid back indie-rock baseball party. All that's missing are the nachos and Miller Lite.
The pedigree of the band is undeniable, and mostly The Baseball Project finds these guys having fun. On "Chin Music," the refrain "high and inside" is sung to the melody of Frank Sinatra's "High Hopes." Violin makes "Tony (Boston's Chosen Son)" sound like a Camper Van Beethoven outtake. Funk lends dobro and banjo to a song about Pete Rose ("Pete Rose Way"). Pitmon sings the title of "Look Out Mom" with the same phrasing as Cherie Currie on her famous parent-baiting Runaways classic "Cherry Bomb." And the band wittily rhymes Mensa with credenza on a tune about Reggie Jackson ("The Straw that Stirs the Drink").
High and Inside is a fun album filled with good melodies and fine playing. But if such names as Bobby Ojeda, Ryne Duren, John McNamara, Mark Fidrych, and Tony Conigliaro don't mean anything to you, the album might have limited appeal. Fans of both baseball and indie-rock, however, will be overjoyed. (www.baseballproject.net)
Author rating: 6/10
Average reader rating: 5/10