When band members venture off onto another project they run the risk of trapping themselves as ‘that guy from ____.’ With Modern Baseball going on hiatus sooner rather than later (we are heartbroken!), there seems no better time for JAKE EWALD to release sophomore LP BIRDIE.
While attempting to break through a phase of writer’s block in between Mobo records, SLAUGHTER BEACH, DOG were formed at the hands of Ewald; and his signature sound has resonated through debut LP Welcome and EP Motorcycle.jpg and now comes Birdie.
An initial eye raising, stand out feature of the record is the studio recorded version of Pretty Okay considering it has been demoed and featured on Mobo‘s unofficial Rarities compilation. Clinging onto Mobo isn’t a theme here, though, instead we have Ewald showcasing his songwriting prowess – for example, Friend Song – distorted vocals and murky, Dandelion Hands-esque instrumentation.
There are various highlights from Birdie, the closing track Acolyte is an ear friendly, acoustic medley of head swaying, toe tapping feel good, vintage Ewald. Shapes I Know could burst into the indie-classic 5 Years Time (Noah and the Whale) at any time, but with a typically Slaughter Dog, Beach story telling injection.
If there was one track to choose as a ‘listen to this track to get into Slaughter Beach, Dog‘ earmark, it would be Buttercup. Once again telling a tale, it is a delicate four-and-a-half-minute poetic, mellow story where Ewald excels himself as a songwriter, musician and observer. “A good friend says goodbye, we go inside and you scratch at an old wound,” gives the impression of being at your wit’s end and instantly digging at what went before once someone significant leaves and shows Slaughter Beach, Dog baring themselves to emotional strain with an exploration of a possible deeper underlying side of Birdie.
For now, Modern Baseball are a pleasurable memory, but Slaughter Beach, Dog are well worth investing your time in.