Writer’s block sucks, and is a nightmare to get through, but for Jake Ewald of skater punks Modern Baseball, it created an entirely new opportunity for him to really experiment with his style and sound. Ewald’s solo project Slaughter Beach, Dog was born in the midst of a creative slump, and quickly gained traction with the album Welcome and its memorable fictional world. Now Slaughter Beach, Dog’s sophomore record Birdie is hitting the shelves, with the potential to expand on the previous album’s sound and concepts.
From opening track ‘Phoenix’, it’s clear that this project is far away from what you’d expect from a member of Modern Baseball. It’s an acoustic wander through genre after genre, held together with beautiful lyrics that really bring you into Ewald’s story. It’s subtle, yet powerful, and the bridge and final chorus are perhaps the best in showing the heart and wealth of experience in the singer’s vocals. If you thought this couldn’t be topped, just wait until you hear ‘Gold And Green’, one of the album’s sure-fire fan-favourites. It displays the rock roots he’s known for, especially in the guitar and drums, married with the more folk-inspired lyrics and vocal tone characteristic of Slaughter Beach, Dog, this track makes it clear that this is a record refusing to be put in a box.
‘Sleepwalking’ is another track utilising Ewald’s expertise in rock. With its pump-up choruses played on the electric guitar sandwiched between verses that are more folky in instrumentation, it’s a wonderful fusion of both styles. To make this best-of-both-worlds track even better, Ewald’s writing carries them both equally successfully with a narrative that lends itself to a variety of styles.
Picking highlights from this album is no easy task – it’s varied in genre, but oddly consistent in quality – but we’d be hard pressed not to mention ‘Fish Fry‘ as one of our favourites. Its bright and sunny guitar use masks a story of lost love that carries a personal touch with its details that make the scenario clear as day, and therefore much more powerful, to almost any listener. It’s clear from this track, and from the whole record, that Ewald’s songwriting sensibilities are pretty far-reaching; whichever direction Slaughter Beach, Dog’s sound travels in next, we’re definitely going to be along for the ride.
Birdie by Slaughter Beach, Dog is available 27th October via Big Scary Monsters