Leaves in the River
(Out September 25)
Being as dance-centric and rock n’ roll-loving as I am, I sometimes find it a little difficult to fall for the low-fi sentimentalities of the singer/songwriter set. That was until I came across Sea Wolf’s debut album Leaves in the River, a delicate and wistful effort full of exquisitely crafted melancholic pop songs. Sea Wolf—named for a Jack London novel and whose only mainstay member is LA-based songwriter Alex Brown Church—creates sweetly sullen melodies that cascade and jangle, channeling the tortured specters of both Elliot Smith and Nick Drake, with intelligent lyrics that weave picturesque tales of love and loss. With small hints of electronic quirks, subtle pop-rock elements and poetic and pithy lyricism, Leaves in the River is an inspired effort that has forced me to give singer/songwriters a solid second chance. Sea Wolf offers tracks like “Songs for the Dead” and “Winter Windows” that have a darkly old-world quality with forlorn accordion bellows juxtaposed with sprightly synth tones and frenetic handclap percussion. Arguably the best song on the album is “You’re a Wolf,” a moody power pop track with a storybook lyrical quality that ominously warns the canine protagonist: “You’re a wolf boy/get out of this town.” Be sure to see Sea Wolf live on Saturday, September 14, at the Treasure Island Music Festival and Wednesday, October 3, at the Independent.