You may know Jake Ewald as frontman of Modern Baseball, but even if you don’t, you will now know him from his new project – Slaughter Beach, Dog. Their first full 10-track album, Birdie, will be out 27th October, and I was lucky enough to get a tasty little preview to tell you why, or why not, you should check it out.
Opening with ‘Phoenix’, Birdie begins on a melancholic tone that can be found throughout. Yet, don’t think this is going to be your usual sad boy emo album; Ewald manages to achieve a sense of subtlety that simultaneously elevates and grounds his songs. That ‘I’m kinda sad but don’t really know why’ feel, carried by the simple melodies, is what really put’s this work above the rest.
Lyrically, the attention to detail is so evokative, you’re never certain that it isn’t all true. This immersivity shows Ewald’s maturity as a songwriter, and is more than a stone’s throw away from his work in Modern Baseball. Although the guitar riffs and melodies are simple, this doesn’t detract from the effectiveness of the songs. ‘Friends Song’ demonstrates how Ewald plays around with new sounds; layering a murky synth against a modest drum beat that gives you that strange eerie feel, making you weirdly uncomfortable.
It is obvious how much work has gone into this album, yet it still remains unembellished with no unnecessary theatrics. It feels effortlessly made, and as a result is no effort to listen to. Put on ‘Bad Beer’ or ‘Shapes I Know’ and take a walk, I dare you to not find yourself subconsciously nodding along. Reaching its emotional peak at the half-way point, ‘Buttercup’, manages to not be too down-hearted, quickly returning to the honest and wholesome melodies that define ‘Birdie’.