Sea Wolf- Leaves In The River (Dangerbird)

The Arts — By on November 12, 2007 at 1:34 pm

The hipster forest is teeming with wolves these days. There’s the rawk of Wolfmother, the racket of Wolf Eyes, and the Modest Mouse-recommended Wolf Parade (while we’re at it: whatever happened to Wolfie?). Enter Los Angeles’ tender new hope: Sea Wolf. Led by ex-Irving vocalist/songwriter Alex Brown Church, they play an indie/folk/pop that should appeal to fans of other gentle giants like Iron & Wine, The Shins, and the patron wuss/saint Nick Drake. In fact, Sea Wolf’s debut album, Leaves In The River, is so accomplished and fully-realized that they may soon find themselves leading the whole pack.

Leaves begins with its title track, as Church’s soft voice stretches complete sentences over three lines at a time to spin a charming yarn about a girl he met at a Halloween party. Over nine more songs Sea Wolf seldom miss the mark with a musical mixture of acoustic guitars, cellos, and keyboards that sound alternately like mandolins or accordions. Highlights include the chugging “Black Dirt”, the possible theme song “You’re A Wolf”, and the not-entirely-gloomy “Song For The Dead.” Church’s lyrics are prosaic and quotable throughout- especially in “Winter Windows” when he declares (in his not-so-declarative way) that “this is the world we live in/ it’s not the one I’d choose, but it’s the one we’re given…” If Church is saying that it is God that gave us this Plan B world, then I say thank God for Sea Wolf.

RATING (1-10): 8

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