A wondrous and magical gift for their fans
Just released from Los Angeles’ own Sea Wolf is the most eloquent and breathlessly beautiful of thank yous. Song Spells, No. 1: Cedarsmoke is a softly spoken, delicately woven, intimate and deeply personal masterpiece. They experimented with a faster, experimental approach to recording which has resulted in a simply gorgeous waking dream that feels like you’re sitting in a friend’s living room with the band gathered round playing for everyone. I’m tempted to say that every album from this point forth should be recorded in this way. This is rich acoustic and subtle electronic music elegantly intertwined but simply captured, with Alex Brown Church’s warm guitar tones and vocals front and center, accentuated perfectly by the music. Strings, percussion, acoustic guitar and voice all blend organically, interwoven in the magic of what feels like and probably is a live full band recording. That is not to say it’s simplistic, anything but, though the layering of instruments is very cleanly presented with each melody distinctly clear and shining brightly.
This lovely work is the first in a series of limited edition albums that are being made available on Spotify and other streaming services and on the band’s website as a pay-what-you-want download. Fans were able to contribute early on to a Kickstarter campaign for various “rewards” that included physical copies in a limited edition (500) vinyl or CD release. Church plans to continue these very special releases, which he’ll record between official album releases. For Song Spells, fellow band members Joey Ficken, Lisa Fendelander and Scott Leahy contributed, recording in Church’s home studio. He did all the recording, mixing and production himself. All I can say is… bands take note!
Their previous albums are Leaves In The River, White Water, White Bloom and Old World Romance — all consistently stunning. Of the new album, Church explains, “The word ‘spell’ can refer to a magical spell or a period of time. I wrote and recorded it in a four-month period to force myself to go with first instincts and let go of the need to get things perfect. It was done for fun, with no commercial expectations from a label, something to share with our fans until we make our next ‘official’ album. We’re basically giving it away as a thank you to the people that have supported us.” Nice.
Sea Wolf will spend the rest of this year working on their next official album, with a month-long break in the fall for a European tour. However, for those fortunate enough to live in Los Angeles (yes, I say that a lot on this blog), they’ll be performing as a 3-piece at a very special show on Wednesday, July 23, at The Sayers Club. Also on the bill is Rare Times and White Rainbow. The show is sponsored by Red Bull Sound Select and KCRW. RSVP for $3 tickets.