Although it started out as an exercise for Modern Baseball’s Jake Ewald to clear out his writer’s block, Slaughter Beach, Dog quickly became its own entity; a fully-fledged vehicle for the sullen songwriter to express himself.
Ewald’s debut solo record (following a pair of EPs) takes the most cathartic pieces of MoBa – “Everything new is a little bit bad, and everything old turns you off” he hums on Bad Beer – and pairs it with mundane, ambiguous, observational lyricism. Gold And Green is a buoyant highlight, inspired album closer Acolyte is as expansive as it is delicately layered, and Sleepwalking plays out like a folk re imagining of Sparkadia’s Talking Like I’m Falling Down Stairs.
While the 10-track debut strums down the same lane as Wilco, Josh Pyke or even City & Colour, Ewald has created a little lane of his own via the genre shifts that sway through the record – and, at times, through each song. Some will say that this means Ewald doesn’t know what direction he is supposed to be heading in, but I think that’s exactly the point.
Birdie is out now via Lame-O Records/Cooking Vinyl.