Sea Wolf

Leaves in the River (Dangerbird)

Phases & Stages

Sea Wolf

Leaves in the River (Dangerbird)

Into a year of Horses (Band of), Birds (Andrew), and Bears (Panda) dog-paddles Sea Wolf. Baring fangs, Alex Brown Church follows up May's five-song solo debut, Get to the River Before It Runs Too Low, which led off with "You're a Wolf," minor key UK melancholy strummed to California folk. Instant kill. At the lupine heart of September's full-length, Leaves in the River, "Wolf," plus its nine other wolves packs all the teenage drama of The River's Edge, its soundtrack wrapped in 1960s singles-minded romance, the 1970s strum of SoCal, and electro static cling of the 1980s. Dragging the River for a drowned romance, the L.A.-based former Irving bassist leads a band of collaborators as he gently hammers his Marxophone, its steel strings producing the rustle of a mandolin-guitar-zither. The sound separation of cello, piano, guitars makes Arcade Fire's Neon Bible sound like a perversion. Opening to the title track's falling rain and nursery piano, love blossoms on a drunk Halloween night and blooms into the doom of "Winter Windows," a tale of bourbon, an abusive man, and regret. The pluck of "Black Dirt" shovels morbid self-pity couched in straight-up stereophonic sound control. "Song for the Dead" sounds the alarm of the Church's cold recriminations. May-September romances never fly.

***

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