Release Date: Oct 27, 2017
Record label: Lame-O Records
WHAT'S DIFFERENT: Like the band that built him, Modern Baseball co-frontman Jake Ewald treats each record from his solo project, Slaughter Beach, Dog, as its own entity: 2016's debut, Welcome, felt like an unexplored extension of his talent, songs that didn't fit his band's ethos. It was a bit mathier, a bit folkier and founded on lyrical specificity—places and people referenced like a diary. The latter is not lost on Birdie, but the music has matured.
Modern Baseball were a band of the people: total transparency was a major factor in their success and perhaps the biggest in their recent decision to take a break. On 2016's Holy Ghost and in its making-of documentary, Brendan Lukens and Jake Ewald were as upfront about their struggles with substance abuse, mental illness, and exhaustion as they were about the nuances of social media and high school heartbreak. But unlike before, airing it out on stage every night was a problem, not a solution.
Underlined by an endearing and disarming style of writing, Ewald adopts an almost conversational tone, littering Birdie with observations that on first listen appear almost passable. References to the price of a cab fare and a Chinese takeout are typical of the miniature observations made throughout, drawing attention to the menial to help develop the wider picture. It's almost akin to the likes of Sun Kil Moon , with sentences often flowing into one another via the regular application of the likes of 'we' and 'then', though the results are occasionally jilted and lack conviction.
Jake Ewald's solo project Slaughter Beach, Dog was borne of the Modern Baseball frontman's desire to cure his writer's block. Debut 'Birdie' is a creative intellectual exercise in semi-acoustic bittersweetness. But an intellectual exercise isn't automatically successful purely by virtue of being one, and so unfortunately calling 'Birdie' a creative exercise in what it's aiming to achieve doesn't change the fact that it's far more miss than hit.
Slaughter Beach, Dog is the vehicle that Jake Ewald will be piloting in the wake of all the emo and angst he peddled with indie act Modern Baseball. What this is, in fact, is an excuse to get even more emo. Seriously though, it's based more on stripped-down acoustics, all-too-familiar lyrics ripped straight from Ewald's diaries , but here you can sense he's much more vulnerable and personal than ever.