Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Reviews:: Sea Wolf Get To the River Before It Runs Too Low

I realized that after talking about how Sea Wolf transformed their upcoming EP – Get to the River Before it Runs Too Low – into an energetic, crowd pleasing set @ Richard’s on Richards last week, I neglected to actually talk about the EP itself. I feel I’ve let you down because no one has mentioned this band yet, and you were probably left in the dark.

Alex Church (of Irving fame) has recruited members of the Shipp Collective to help him embark on his solo journey. Despite the fact this is yet another Wolf band, it is certainly one deserving of your attention. The result is a comforting mix of instruments that leave you feeling warm and fuzzy, like a thick wool sweater. The songs are a nice combination of folk/roots and 80’s pop, which I admit sounds like a mix that shouldn’t work, but completely does.

One of the reasons the mix works so well is that Alex’s voice can bend and meld to fit the diverse styles the band plays. He can easily transform from an emotive story teller (The Garden that you Planted), to a folk singer (I Made a Resolution – where the diction and delivery Alex uses reminds me of early Bright Eyes work), to an indie/pop rock front man (You’re a Wolf), and often shows elements of all three in the same song.

The standout track – Sea Monuments – starts with a Korg and acoustic backbeat and adds an electric guitar that jangles its way into your cerebellum. Alex’s vocals channel those charismatic 80’s UK artists that somehow made you feel wonderful about feeling miserable.

Musically, the arrangements surprised me. Often, these singer/songwriter projects (which to be fair, this really isn’t – it’s just a band with a rotating cast of characters) force too much into every song, or are so scared of cluttering the mix that the songs feel empty. Alex and his friends have a good grasp on spatial capacity, allowing elements to wander freely, but never intruding on another element of the song. Pulled strings and keys add mood on the delicately finger picked The Garden You Planted, but don’t steal your ear from the acoustic riff or Alex’s words, and conversely, the uptempo drums and stabbing strings on I Made a Resolution bring the energy back up effortlessly.

I know this is only a 5-song EP, but with an upcoming full length in September (a few songs were previewed at the show), Sea Wolf might just be the wolf that stands out from the pack.

MP3:: You're a Wolf

Posted at 1:30 PM by ack :: 2 comments

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At 3:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous did sayeth:

that's Ces Monuments....it's french!


At 4:12 PM, Blogger ack did sayeth:

That's weird. The cover on the actual EP says Ses Monuments, but the track itself reads as "Sea Monuments" in Itunes.


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