Slaughter Beach, Dog: Crying, Laughing, Waving, Smiling (Lame-O) - review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Thursday, December 7th, 2023  

Slaughter Beach, Dog

Crying, Laughing, Waving, Smiling


Oct 04, 2023 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

Last September, after the UK’s COVID lockdown restrictions were eased, I took my daughter to see Slaughter Beach, Dog frontman Jake Ewald play a solo acoustic set to about 40 people in a bar on the outskirts of Oxford. That night lives on in our memories for its incredible intimacy, convivial setting, and for how it perfectly reflected a moment of hope, the return of live music shows, and the comfort of strangers.

The trick adeptly performed by Crying, Laughing, Waving, Smiling, the latest record from Ewald and Co., is that it conveys a similar sense of closeness and spontaneity. Its songs feel instantly amicable; woozy emo-country tunes whose tender hooks linger long after the record has stopped spinning.

Opener, “Surfin’ New Jersey,” pulls off the same trick as Slaughter Beach, Dog live favorite “Acolyte,” replacing the latter track’s whistled refrain with a hummed melody guaranteed to become a welcome earworm. Cheerful arrangements belie darkly humorous lyrics. Universal truths proliferate; religious imagery abounds, yet playfulness is never far from the surface (on “My Sister in Jesus Christ,” Ewald crams references to My Chemical Romance, BDSM, and writing dirty emails into the same verse). Highlights include the affecting, near-nine-minute “Engine” and the tragic tale of quashed childhood dreams told in “Henry.” In fact, there’s an underlying sense of crossroads, new beginnings, and opportunity infused into this record’s 10 solid tracks. But it’s also cut through with a compelling pathos; a sadness that puts its arm around the listener, as if to say, “I got you.”

Crying, Laughing, Waving, Smiling is the soundtrack to an Indian summer, a musical salve, a welcome comfort in the darker days of fall; it’s a campfire sing-along with close friends. But, more than anything, it’s a timeless collection with the power to transport the listener—or at least this one—to a place in time where intimacy was at a premium. (

Author rating: 8/10

Rate this album
Average reader rating: 9/10


Submit your comment

Name Required

Email Required, will not be published


Remember my personal information
Notify me of follow-up comments?

Please enter the word you see in the image below:

There are no comments for this entry yet.