Review: Sea Wolf sets sail on epic sophomore journey with wicked blood

Published on September 16th, 2009 by

It’s that time of year again. The kids headed back to school yesterday, and I’ve got a bushel of extra hours to myself. I tend to fill my days obsessively processing pictures, searching out new mp3’s and generally soaking up all manner of music-related ephemera. This intense focus has come to rest on Sea Wolf as of late.

Timing is everything, they say. I got the advanced copy of Sea Wolf’s sophomore album, White Water White Bloom last week, Sea Wolf’s show at Bibmos is this Friday, and the album hits shelves on Tuesday. I’ve decided to hold off on writing a full album review until I’ve had a chance to hear some of the new stuff live. But in the meantime, I’d like to direct you to what I can only assume must be the first single, Wicked Blood.

I heard this track about a week before I had the album, so it’s had several weeks and umpteen-dozen listens to sink in, but I knew after a few notes this one was a keeper. The chaos of instruments at the start reminded me of the railway sounds at the beginning of “Leaves in the River” and there was plenty of the warm wandering cello that I love in the chorus. Yummy!

Alex Brown Church, aka Sea Wolf, created beautiful imagery with the lyrics from his first album. Each song painted a story with tiny bits of rich visual detail. The imagery of Wicked Blood didn’t really hit me till I heard Alex fill in the backstory in short-but-sweet “video podcast” put out last week by Sea Wolf’s label, Dangerbird records.

Alex explains, “I went to college at NYU. I lived in NYC for four years, just living on the east coast as a west coast kid. When I was there I definitely felt culturally very different, not what I was used to. Wicked blood pulls on that feeling and that experience.”

He continues, “I like the contrast of posh, upper-class, blue-blooded woman having an affair with and someone like me, who comes from a west coast working-class background. Totally two different worlds.”

After hearing Alex describe the roots of the song, the next listen was a visual epiphany, like having a full HD video in my head and I understood the “Wicked Blood” reference. “You’d have my blues for your Nantucket reds” and “These lines were here /long before we came around” made for a wonderful story, damning the situation but neither of the two protagonists. This sense of joy, loss, distanced reflection, fate, and acceptance of events long past is one of the things I enjoy most about Church’s lyrics.

The fated fading lines of the song, “there’s an ember in the rafters/and it’s going to burn this whole thing down” juxtapose in my head with the image of Church and band mates standing on the edge of a precipice. Wicked Blood and the rest of the songs from the new album have yet to be played live, the CD has yet to be released to the world. The fate of Sea Wolf is yet to be written, but I have a hunch you’ll be hearing many gushing words of praise for the shows and CD from both The Color Awesome and the rest of the blogosphere in the days ahead.

Download Wicked Blood

Sea Wolf plays Bibmos 365 in San Francisco this Friday September 18th.
You can pre-order White Water, White Bloom from Dangerbird.
Read all our Sea Wolf coverage.

Wicked Blood Lyrics
We met in the east
Poured in like a flood
You’re the whispering kind
Dark sapphire blood

A vision of veils
all shimmery white
Like a backdrop of sails
all aglow from the light
Of the wonder behind
at a starry night

In the mountain’s song
and the blue jay’s call
My heartbeat flows
in crystal waterfalls
You’re so beautiful
in your elegant bed
You’d have my blues
for your Nantucket reds

I’d wait in the dark
balanced on a thread
So I’d wait in the dark
balanced on this thread

And under the church-light
You stand there
with your wicked blood and your curls
Yeah, under the church-light
You stand there in your fur and your pearls
These lines were here
long before we came around
Yeah, these lines were here
and there’s an ember in the rafters
And it’s going to burn this whole thing down

In the neon mist
I heard you breathe
An exquisite sound
some secret symphony
Your silken skin
my fingers rough
In the midnight din
we went home and touched
beneath the chandeliers
in your Persian’s dust
beneath the chandeliers
in your Persian’s dust

And under the church-light
You stand there
with your wicked blood and your curls
Yeah, under the church-light
You stand there in your fur and your pearls
These lines were here
long before we came around
Yeah, these lines were here
and there’s an ember in the rafters
an ember in the rafters
There’s an ember in the rafters
an ember in the rafters
There’s an ember in the rafters
an ember in the rafters
There’s an ember in the rafters
an ember in the rafters
Yeah there’s an ember in the rafters
an ember in the rafters
There’s an ember in the rafters
an ember in the rafters
And there’s an ember in the rafters
and it’s going to bring this whole thing down

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Comments are closed.