Attempting to build on the promise of the demos EP ‘DAWG’, Modern Baseball co-conspirator Jake Ewald takes us on a trip with the first full-length from his latest project, Slaughter Beach, Dog.
‘Welcome’ is very much Ewald’s brainchild, as he seeks to compose an album with complete creative control and freedom for the first time. And despite the initial familiarity found in his snarky vocal delivery, opener ‘Mallrat Semi-Annual’, and in particular its soaring guitar lines, promises that there is much more on offer here than a collection of Modern Baseball offcuts. The musical canvas displayed here is both vast and varied, with elements of punk, alt-rock, indie, folk, even country, all featured. Ewald isn’t afraid to colour outside of the lines here either, and produces a record set on stretching his Philadelphia punk rock roots to their limits.
Lead single ‘Monster’ shows flashes of radio-rock finesse, whereas ‘Politics of Grooming’ tip-toes around the pastoral themes similarly explored in Modern Baseball’s ‘Holy Ghost’, albeit in a less personal fashion. ‘Forever’ pleasingly ups the punk and pace, however it is Ewald’s descriptive delivery of his vocals which steals the show again here. ‘Essex Street’ closes the record emphatically with a blistering prog-punk instrumental, it is a fitting finale which once again shows the strength in depth Ewald has in his song-writing ability.
For fans of Ewald’s work with Modern Baseball this is another essential collection of emotive songs, with many examples which demonstrate the care and craft that has gone into ensuring the cohesive nature of the record. For everyone else, ‘Welcome’ is worth the multiple listens needed to absorb everything featured here. Less insta-personal than his work with Modern Baseball, Ewald takes us on a wild trip with Slaughter Beach, Dog. A trip of both surprising depth and familiar heart.
‘Welcome’ by Slaughter Beach, Dog is released on September 30th on Lame-O Records.
Words by Joe Philpott (@joe_philpott)