BY CLAIRE ASHTON
In the time of digital one-offs, there aren’t a lot of songwriters like Alex Brown Church. Every track on Song Spells, No.1: Cedarsmoke demands attention, reviving the concept of artists crafting complete albums that are best consumed from beginning to end. Sea Wolf broke out in 2007 with Leaves In The River and since released two albums with heavier-handed production, so loyal fans eagerly opened their wallets when Church launched a Kickstarter campaign almost a year ago to fund a new acoustic endeavor.
Reminiscent of his debut effort, Song Spells exemplifies poignantly narrative songwriting with stories so intricate and personal that you’re instantly transported into Church’s world. In “Bavarian Porcelain” an encounter with woman is sophisticatedly detailed all the way down to her navy cardigan and a small gem in her white front tooth while stripped-down “Ram’s Head” is roomy enough for both Church’s stormy falsetto and the crackle of the fireplace in the wintery, musical vignette. Noteworthy “Visions” rounds out Sea Wolf’s 4th album with an introspective yet hopeful look at perseverance and desire with the refrain, “I want to live again / I want to make amends / I want to start anew / I want to change the end.”
Perhaps it’s the perfect combination of sparse instrumentation and moody subjects, or the haunting organ sound that weaves throughout the album, but Song Spells is a knockout that sounds exactly like the beginning of Fall.
DOWNLOAD: “Ram’s Head,” “Visions”