[10 July 2007]
A singer and songwriter with L.A. band Irving, Alex Church goes by Sea Wolf when recording solo. With a little help from some friends, he has put together a fine debut EP, Get to the River Before it Runs Too Low. Like Elliott Smith, Sea Wolf’s music is indie folk at its heart, but stretches out into melancholic guitar pop when it wants to. Opener “You’re a Wolf” begins with chiming Britpop guitar, before a warm, low cello comes in to hypnotize us. The track is a simmering beauty. “The Garden that You Planted” is even more low-key and uses some pretty string arrangements to nice effect. “I Made a Resolution” and “Ses Monuments” have crisp song structures, and the latter offers some especially rewarding moments. “I Don’t Know if I’ll Be Back in Time” closes the CD with a wistful pump organ dirge. Church’s voice won’t reach out and grab you, but it does have a warm and tuneful appeal. Let’s hope we get more of the same from Sea Wolf on their coming full-length debut.