Sea Wolf - Leaves In The River

It doesn't take much effort to get lost in the lyrics, whether he's singing about love or hermetic forest dwelling alcoholics - it's all listenable, involving and richly descriptive.

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Released 28 Jul 2008 | Dangerbird | By Chris Hammond | Rating: 4
Sea Wolf - Leaves In The River

'Leaves On The River' is the latest work from singer-songwriter Alex Brown Church's group Sea Wolf and it's all set for its barely anticipated UK release right about now! But just because nobody cares doesn't mean they shouldn't, and this tasty little ten track treat is testament to that if ever it was needed. Ostensibly a wistful, thoughtful, intelligent new wave singer along the lines of Micha P Hinson and Willie Mason, Church brings a depth to the vocals that is relatively uncommon on either side of the Atlantic. It doesn't take much effort to get lost in his lyrics, whether he's singing about love or hermetic forest dwelling alcoholics - it's all listenable, involving and richly descriptive.

Normally a vocalist this talented can quite easily carry a more mediocre band, but in this instance Church seems to have everything ticking along nicely. It is instrumentally accomplished but understated, which is essentially what is needed for both frontman and band to flourish side by side.

Track-wise there is little to criticise other than a slight lack of urgency on occasion. Sea Wolf could very well hit it big with meatier more muscular moments, but they don't, and as a result they may miss the marketable mainstream boat that equally esoteric peers have managed to set sail in over the past few years. What there is and what they do is, as you may have guessed by now, pretty accomplished. 'Black Dirt' is a real beast of a track and the absolute standout. Rhythmic, swooning, quirky and effortlessly addictive and exactly the sort of track Arcade Fire would be proud to have recorded. Likewise the all too quickly reached final track 'Neutral Ground' could sit happily alongside any other tunefully thoughtful indie ballad of the past eight years. The weird 'You're A Wolf' and the almost Guided By Voices-esque 'The Rose Captain' are also worthy of mention as being worth an iTunes purchase if you need further evidence before an album purchase.

It's a relatively raunchy record and suggests that Church and co could be the next big thing in intelligent alternative indie music. Arcade Fire, Wolf Parade and The Decemberists all better watch their backs.