The Baseball Project: 3rd
True sports fan understand the uselessness, yet endless appeal of statistics. The Baseball Project’s driving orchestral rock opener spouts what must be construed as an ironic play from this baseball-loving band—R.E.M.’s Peter Buck and Mike Mills, R.E.M. sideman and The Minus 5 mainstay Scott McCaughey, Steve Wynn and Zuzu’s Petals Linda Pitmon. In fact, 3rd is quirky throughout in exploring America’s favorite pastime and its characters. There’s acid-taking pitcher Doc Ellis, Braves star Dale Murphy, homerun hero Hank Aaron, baseball cards, box scores, and of course, a rousing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” Musically, one should expect nothing less than solid, jangly pop songs with edgy guitars, uplifting organ swells and compelling hooks. “Monument Park” is a bit ballad-y, but otherwise this is a fun, seriously tongue-in-cheek affair.