SLAUGHTER BEACH DOG – ” Safe and Also No Fear “

Posted: January 14, 2020 in ALBUMS, MUSIC
Tags: , , , , , , ,

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The third LP from Slaughter Beach, Dog; released on Lame-O Records on August 2nd, 2019. Across the previous Slaughter Beach, Dog albums, Jake Ewald has crafted his sound. It’s one that incorporates pop music, indie-rock, folk, and just the faintest dash of punk in order to create something that’s accessible but still artistically rich. With Safe And Also No Fear, the band’s third album, Ewald has abandoned his usual practices in service of creating something richer.

Where he once offered tightly woven vignettes about characters that mirrored the people in his life, Safe And Also No Fear now finds Jake joined by a full band, spinning out songs that push and expand Slaughter Beach, Dog’s sonic boundaries in subtle, evocative ways. Opener “One Down” leans on a pedestrian acoustic pattern that plods in one ear and out the other. “I dress up nice/I feel all right/I get loaded/And I come home late at night,” Ewald sings, without enough conviction to absolve the cliché. He falls into a half-spoken drawl on “Dogs,” a tender discourse on human friendships (“I know he always understands me/Even when I am being evasive”), but the stream-of-consciousness melody feels as aimless as another night at the neighborhood bar.

“Black Oak” achieves a more affecting result by ditching the vocal melody altogether: “His belly warm with drink/He leaned into the freeway in the night/Investigating exit ramps/Waiting for a sign,” Ewald recounts in an unnerving deadpan. The guitars drop out as the song’s protagonist meets tragedy: “They found him at the black oak/They dug him up last night.” A looping coda evokes the spaced-out lapse of highway hypnosis, as if the band were cruising those darkened roads themselves.

After two LPs performed entirely by himself, the beach must’ve grown lonely; on Safe and Also No Fear, Ewald’s third album, he’s joined by a full ensemble that includes Modern Baseball bassist Ian Farmer, his first official reunion with a former bandmate since their indefinite hiatus. Together, they dive into the pared-down folk-rock Ewald had just begun to explore on previous solo releases.

Recorded and produced by Jake Ewald, Ian Farmer, Nick Harris, and Zack Robbins at The Metal Shop Studio in Philadelphia, PA.

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