With a Modern Baseball hiatus well underway songwriter Jake Ewald was given the opportunity to work on a follow up to last Septembers's excellent Welcome as a part of his noticeably more personal project - Slaughter Beach, Dog.
The completely ungoogle-able Motorcycle.jpg finds Ewald crossing from ambling, hazy, thoughtful guitar strums like on 'Building The Ark' to the more single-ready indie rock of opener 'Your Cat' - the most Modern Baseball track you'll find here.
While 'Building the Ark’ offers a bitterly humorous levity in its dreamy exploration of familial love, ‘Your Cat’ sees Ewald try to make sense of a deep revelation with a cataclysm of vice, closing in a suitably Grandaddy-like cacophony.
"Tell my sister I am with her wherever she may go
If not then sure as shit, where she leads I'll follow"
The jangling and yearning The Superweaks cover ’Glowing’ is a clear highlight and probably the most accessible of the fair, while the Lee Ranaldo freewheeling ramblings of the Wilco referencing ’104 Degrees’ offers the most unique style throughout the EP. It’s dulcet tones form an acoustic jam that builds with tumbling poetry and driving instrumentation. As such its both the most dense and rewarding track, as personal as any others on the EP yet perhaps its most eloquent.
She says, "I feel so old admitting counter-culture makes me tired"
Though Motorcycle.jpg may feel like a rather slight effort at just four songs (it is after all a precursor to a forthcoming full album) Ewald’s maturity and songwriting prowess have reached new heights in this brilliantly sincere gift of an EP. Indeed, this feels far from just an opportunity for a songwriter to flex his his lyrical muscles.
Motorcycle.jpg is a microscopic, exquisitely detailed collection of songs that offer true variation with a unifying theme of familial love and isolation. Ultimately, it is an EP that truly deserves appreciation, feeling at once more like an epilogue than a prologue, its excellent both in its own right and on its own terms.
Motorcycle.jpg is out now on Lame-O Records.