Safe and Also No Fear is the third album from Jake Ewald under the banner of Slaughter Beach, Dog and as you'd expect, the album continues to explore dark and brooding thematic territory the project has become known for. If you're not familiar with Slaughter Beach, Dog, you may know Jake from his tenure with the Emo Punk outfit Modern Baseball, with which he released three albums, until the band's indefinite hiatus announced in 2017. His music with Slaughter Beach, Dog is lyrically dark and positively drenched in melancholy, and the result is as beautiful as it is sombre.
Safe and Also No Fear opens with the two leading singles from the album; 'One Down' and 'Good Ones' respectively. Both of these tracks contain the very essence of what Slaughter Beach, Dog has become over the course of three albums – atmospheric, introspective, and vibrantly alluring. The stories weaved throughout the album openers feel like a grainy Polaroid snapshot giving the listener a window into the life of the subject, an atmosphere further cultivated over the remainder of the album.
One thing that really stands out about the album is the incredible level of maturity displayed in the songwriting, particularly within the lyricism, which sets this record apart from his previous two. The dark, subdued nature of a lot of the instrumentation on the album serves to push the excellent lyricism to the forefront, with which intricate stories are painted vividly with words. The narrative of each track, while strikingly rich, have a level of complexity within them which sometimes obscures the intended subject matter at first glance, often requiring multiple listens to get the most from each piece.
The albums closing track 'Anything' is the perfect way to bookend the album and comes as a bitter pill in a sweet coating to send the listener off. Musically the song is bare-bones, being comprised of only Jake's vocals and an acoustic guitar, and the instrumentation itself feels hopeful, almost cheery. There is some dissonance between the instrumentation and the lyrics, with the latter telling a story more melancholic than the guitar riff immediately lets on. 'Anything' is another shining example of how much Slaughter Beach, Dog has developed since the project's inception and a fitting way to bring the album to a close.
Right from the first listen, Safe and Also No Fear is incredibly enticing. The album creates an atmosphere of wistful sorrow which is sure to captivate the listener, with enough depth and complexity to keep them hooked. The dissolution of Jake Ewald's main project Modern Baseball in 2017 probably freed up much more time for him to work on Slaughter Beach, Dog's third instalment and it really shows. Safe and Also No Fear is an incredibly cathartic listening experience and no matter what you're going through, you'll be able to take something from its dark indie brilliance.
Safe And Also No Fear is out now via Big Scary Monsters