Slaughter Beach, Dog – Birdie
Indie Folk | Indie Rock
What with Jaws Of Love a few weeks ago, and now with this latest release from Modern Baseball’s Jake Ewald, there seems to be a pattern forming this year of solo projects catching my attention far more than the bands that spawned them. This little hiatus side project is just what the doctor ordered. In this record Jake takes a step back from his usual writing style, shifting the focus away from himself and instead building narratives around characters he has created. The change is remarkable, and it’s no exaggeration to say that Birdie features the finest storytelling you are likely to find in 2017. Jake takes tales of the everyday, of ordinary people and their mundane lives, and makes them seem extraordinary. It’s like an impressionist painting of an otherwise tired and forgotten street.
Though naturally the lyrics are the focus of the record, the understated instrumentation compliments it beautifully. ‘Gold And Green’ has some sublime bass tones, opening track ‘Phoenix’ builds a gorgeous atmosphere, while the sparse ‘Buttercup’ strips it back to the bare essentials. It is one of the more consistently good albums to come out this year, but as a result there are no real stand-out “wow” moments. Any track here would be an invaluable addition to your playlist, but nothing that you would rush to share with friends. Birdie is like a half remembered childhood memory; it’s nothing special on the face of it, and it certainly doesn’t mean much when shared with someone else, but deep down it still holds a kind of significance. That’s the kind of reverence that this record sparks, and if this is the kind of solo output Jake is capable of then I hope the hiatus carries on a while longer.