When I ask Alex Brown Church for thoughts on A Wolf at the Table, he laughs.
“I don’t think I can really say,” he admits.
I leave it at that, because I don’t want to shake up his relationship with Augusten Burroughs, author of the aforementioned memoir, for which Church wrote “Song of the Magpie.” When Burroughs asked him to write a reaction song, the Los Angeles singer/songwriter behind Sea Wolf painted a marching Chamber Pop picture of the author’s father, including the smoke-stained fingers tucking in a young boy. (No, this is not CliffsNotes.)
Church’s latest Sea Wolf offering, White Water, White Bloom, dropped last week. Like 2007’s Leaves in the River, the new album finds Alex lifting his nature-centered narratives with a steady acoustic guitar and orchestral rivers full of brooding cello lines and distant pianos. “Spirit Horse, spirit me away/ I had a vision by the riverside today” aren’t the only lines worth plucking. He seemingly embodies a man shivering in the thick of a snowfall, an element missing on Leaves.
Most of WWWB stems from an extended stay in Montreal, his girlfriend’s residence.
“It’s like winter there eight months out of the year,” he says. “I think isolation in a cold place works well for me.”
Church is Sea Wolf, but recently he welcomed drummer Joey Ficken, bassist Ted Liscinski (onetime member of Cincy band Moth during that band’s major label tenure) and keyboardist Lisa Fendelander to the permanent fold. Touring newbie Joyce Lee takes up the cello, while Nathan Anderson helms electric guitar, something he also handles for Indie Folk luminary M. Ward.
Oh, and it’s worth noting that Sea Wolf bows to Dangerbird Records, home of local Indie Pop duo Bad Veins. Forgive me: You already knew that.
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