While every music writer in the biz is busy recounting the best of 2009-or placing bets on what will be hot in ’10-L.A.’s Sea Wolf is reminding the world that the year ain’t over just yet. The moniker and solo project of singer/songwriter Alex Brown Church, Sea Wolf mixes understated full-orchestra arrangements with vocals that beg comparison to fellow rock ‘n’ roll baritones like Conor Oberst and Interpol’s Paul Banks. On White Water, White Bloom, Church further aligns himself with his indie contemporaries with crashing builds and a whole lotta nature imagery (take “Spirit Horse” and “The Orchard” for example). But while some of White Water‘s tracks feel a little forced, Church’s hits more than make up for his misses. Case in point: “O Maria!,” a nautical-infused, hard-rocking ditty that’s as rollicking in its guitar lines as it is stormy in its subject matter.


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