Sea Wolf | Leaves in the River (Dangerbird)

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cd_seawolf.jpgAlex Church, lead singer and sole writer of the album, does well to blend organic instruments like acoustic guitar, organ, and cello with various electronic blips and bleeps.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Usually when a band chooses to include the "wolf" as a part of its name, listeners can expect some degree of ferocity. After all, the wolf was introduced to us at an early age by the Brothers Grimm as a devourer of grandmothers and little girls in red hoods. Listeners, have no fear. Sea Wolf won't be engaging in any cannibalism, nor will they be blowing down the houses of poor, unsuspecting little pigs. In fact, the songs that make up Leaves in the River are probably more likely to put you to sleep then the aforementioned fairytales.

It's not that the music on Leaves in the River isn't well-crafted; quite the opposite, actually. Alex Church, lead singer and sole writer of the album, does well to blend organic instruments like acoustic guitar, organ, and cello with various electronic blips and bleeps. The problem with this record is that Church's lyrics fail to match the intrigue and intricacy of the music they accompany.

Examples of this dilemma are found throughout the disc. On "Black Dirt," a track in which the band explodes after a solo acoustic beginning, Church comes from the department of redundancy department, repeating over and over, "Black dirt will stain your feet/ and when you walk you'll leave black dirt in the street." While he displays great skills as a storyteller on tracks like the beautifully bowed "The Rose Captain" and the gloomy acoustic "Black Leaf Falls," overall, his choruses are simply boring. If Sea Wolf were a hip-hop group, they'd suffer from a common ailment known as lame hooks disease.

On Leaves in the River, Sea Wolf constantly tiptoe on the edge of completely rocking out, never surpassing the comfort of mid-tempo jams like "You're a Wolf" and "The Cold, the Dark, and the Silence." This record as a whole presents to listeners a songwriter and band with a great deal of potential. Lucky for us, Leaves in the River is just the first full-length from Sea Wolf, which means that there is likely much more to come from this obviously talented group. B- | Carl Hines

RIYL: Elliott Smith, Iron and Wine

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