The solo project of Modern Baseball's Jake Ewald, Slaughter Beach, Dog, is back for a second full-length album. On Birdie, Ewald abandons his the pop-punk roots and adopts a new style that could be loosely categorized as indie-folk. He also abandons his transparency and unapologetic honesty — his signature with Modern Baseball — as Slaughter Beach, Dog tells the story of fictional characters living in a fictional town called Slaughter Beach.
In just ten tracks, Birdie tells the stories of normal people with normal problems. Ewald investigates the mundane realities of being young, bored and in love. And while the stories lack real situational depth, the way he tells these stories are compellingly impressionistic. In "Pretty O.K.," we meet Luis, the narrator's friend who has no desire to go to college and whose bedroom is full of porn and ICP CDs. "Bad Beer" is a love song from an aspiring musician (presumably not Ewald) to a woman called Annie that's almost satirical in its simplicity.
Several tracks are riddled with mundane descriptions of parents from the perspectives of young people who just can't wait to get out of their parents' basements. One mother takes photos as she calls out modeling commands, while a father hits his child on Christmas Eve.
On the final track, "Acolyte," Ewald sings: "Man, it cuts like a dull knife / When you're young and you're told / 'Makes sense when you're older' / Darling, let's get old," as if to answer the questions we've had about the narrator's identity while listening.
Birdie shows Ewald's diversity as an artist, but also his masterful songwriting abilities. While musically, the tracks can sometimes bleed into each other, sounding perhaps too similar, this album is meant to be consumed in order as a whole. Birdie sets a solid foundation for Slaughter Beach, Dog's future. (Lame-O Records)