by Gordon


Pitchfork: 5.2          Rolling Stone: N/A          Metacritic: N/A          Spin: N/A


Released: September 2007
  1. Leaves In the River
  2. Winter Windows
  3. Black Dirt [LISTEN]

  4. The Rose Captain
  5. Middle Distance Runner
  6. You’re A Wolf
  7. Song For The Dead
  8. Black Leaf Falls
  9. The Cold, The Dark And The Silence
  10. Neutral Ground

   It was late Winter. I was leaving the architecture building at the University of MD on a cold, dark night. It was late and I was very tired. I got in my car for the routine five-minute drive back home. I turned on the radio, picked up some Indie local channel. Thank God. This song was half-through. I was hearing this great rhythm on acoustic guitar…good chords. And a young, confident male voice. Then this catchy electric guitar lick…and strings! The strings got more ferocius towards the end as the singer is now singing “You’re a wolf, boy, get out of this town.” The song was “You’re A Wolf”, and it’s rare that I hear such great new songs…especially on the radio.

   What followed was a determination to find out who was responsible for the song and whether by some chance it wasn’t the only decent thing they’d recorded and released. Turns out the band was Sea Wolf (I was sensing a theme), and although a band, was really just a moniker used by Alex Brown Church, the creative force behind the sound. I quickly downloaded the album, and was joyous over an album that start to finish proved to be a more than enjoyable listen.

   The album starts with the dreamlike, beautifully simple “Leaves in the River”, growing from acoustic guitar to light percussion, to simple piano, keyboard and electric guitar fills, a pleasant background to a vivid boy-and-girl narrative recount. The next song to leave an impression for me was “Black Dirt”, again starting with simple acoustic chords and promising vocals (“Black dirt will stain your feet and when you walk you’ll leave black dirt in the street.”). That’s when strings, percussion and electric guitar come crashing in for the remainder of the song, building up towards the end with a fervor and attitude reminiscent of the great Arcade Fire.

   “The Rose Captain” andMiddle Distance Runner” act as pleasantly-paced, melodically impressive in-betweens until you get to the arguable star of the show, “You’re A Wolf”. A later standout is second-to-last track “The Cold, The Dark & The Silence”, a faster-paced, guitar-heavy piece, intensifying further with commanding vocals and strings. The last track, “Neutral Ground”, comes at you in the same vein as that of the opening track…a light, melancholy goodbye to match that of its hello.

   Many of the songs from Leaves in the River seem to stick to the same formula…a certain pace, guitar rhythm, vocal style or string accompaniment…but never does one song sound similar to another. The formula works. And after the ten songs are over, you want more of it. With the recent release of second album White Water, White Bloom, and a hopeful, anxious listen to the first track through, it’s safe to say there’s more to look forward to.

1 Comment

Filed under sea wolf

One response to “LEAVES IN THE RIVER by sea wolf

  1. Pingback: WHITE WATER, WHITE BLOOM by sea wolf « the music seen

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