Kite Party - Baseball Season (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Kite Party

Baseball Season (2011)


I've often wondered why there was such a great anger toward how the mainstream consciousness-conceived emo in the '00s. Genres have always transformed over time and what was dubbed rock music the '50s didn't really resemble what would be called rock music in the early '70s and there wasn't much of concentrated resistance to it (until punk came around at least). I think the problem with emo lied in the fact that it was born out of hardcore punk, retained those elements but brought in pop elements such as singing and introspective lyrics but relied primarily on structures that did not conform to strict verse chorus patterns. The music that became known as emo to the mainstream lacked almost all of the elements that made emo "emo," aside from singing. The lyrics weren't even introspective; they became about romantic pursuits. It became simply pop music, and people who had grown to love the genre some called emo resented that fact. Kite Party is a band some would call emo but for all the reasons the genre was coined and Baseball Season serves as a lasting testament to its appeal.

The idea of a "baseball" season is inseparable from that of summer and all the hope and joy that comes along with it. Think Don Henley's "Boys of Summer", or if you'd prefer not to think of it don't. Either way, this is the space that Baseball Season the album inhabits. The playful guitars intertwining rise up, producing an elated feeling within the listener, but for every rise there is a fall and for every start there is a stop. When frontman Russ Edling croons "You said a line that really stuck out / How time is eternal, that you can't crawl out / I don't want be lost, I just want be faithful / I don't want to be lost, I just want to be faithful/" on "Runner," you can't help but feel him playing with the idea that these feelings of this time and this baseball season are fleeting, as hopeful as things are like all things they will pass. Maybe Baseball Season is something that cannot be grasped or contained. "Spirit Gum" plays with this idea of time as a thief more explicitly but is no less affecting: "I'll be your little boy / I'll be your little toy / I'll wait for the setting sun / I'll pray for a loaded gun/".

No matter what you call it: emo, indie rock, baby makin' music, Kite Party have created an original, completely enjoyable record that stays true to the album format in Baseball Season. It is jangly and fun, it is thoughtful and foreboding, it builds tension and delivers on it every single time. That it is well thought-out and executes it's ideas perfectly also makes for one of the most satisfying releases of the year.