Spotlight: Sea Wolf

Alex Brown Church takes after Jack London

Spotlight: Sea Wolf

1am, Buffalo Billiards

Apparently, Leaves in the River isn't a breakup album.

"No, no," says Alex Brown Church by phone from Montreal, where he splits time with Los Angeles. "I wouldn't say it's a breakup record. It's about more than just that. It's about a tumultuous relationship. ...

"I had gone through a whole bunch of stuff personally. I don't want to get too much into it, but one of the things I was trying to explore is what I wanted to do musically. If I wanted to be in Irving, which was the other band I was in, or just be out on my own.

"So I think a lot of those kinds of feelings, of searching, come out in the songs."

Searching ("You're a Wolf"), longing ("Winter Windows"), death ("Black Dirt"), death ("The Cold, the Dark & the Silence"), death ("Song for the Dead"): Leaves in the River, Top 10 2007 follow-up to Sea Wolf's debut five-track, Get to the River Before It Runs Too Low, breaks with life if nothing else. Spring's reincarnation hasn't broken the ice of winter's (pop) gothic.

"I definitely feel like I reached back to where I came from for the record, my roots," furthers ABC. "I lived in a small town, like a gold-rush town, when I was young, in California. There's a lot of nature imagery in the record that I got from that experience. And also singing about my father a little bit.

"Those are what I see as my happy years as a kid, so I guess that's why I was going back to that," admits Sea Wolf.

"That's from the Jack London novel The Sea-Wolf. He's also a Bay Area native."

That also explains Leaves' outdoorsy rurality.

"There are certain songs that I felt like, 'This is a total pop song, but how can we make it sound like a sea shanty?' Just instrumentally: What can I do to have that? I guess it has a sort of outdoors, sea town, turn-of-the-century thing.

"But live, it's a bit more spirited or intense."

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