A dreamy wash of tingly synthesizers leads us into an agile, subtly orchestrated tune with a mixed-down piano vamp (itself intriguing; mostly when someone is pounding a piano, it’s just about all you can hear) and a hint of portentousness. When Alex Brown Church starts singing (and hm, we have two solo performers this week who record using an animal name), that sense of something impending, even prophetic, in the air is further accentuated both by his slightly husky but resonant baritone–it is a voice ready to pronounce something–and by the elusive stream of words he sings. The words resist a narrative throughline but are full of concrete images: veils and curls and mountains and chandeliers and waterfalls and such. Ever since Dylan went electric, this has been a surefire way to sow intrigue and anticipation in a pop song: give us lots of good nouns. We don’t know how that ember got in those rafters, or where the rafters even are, but we emotionally respond to the threat.
Church first gained indie notice as a member of the LA band Irving, which formed back in 1998. As he began writing songs that didn’t seem like Irving songs, he started performing on his own, as Sea Wolf, in 2003. (So you know, Irving has spawned at least one other side project–Afternoons, who were featured here last year; Irving itself is on hiatus at this point.) “Wicked Blood” is the lead track off White Water, White Bloom, the second Sea Wolf album, which came out last week on Dangerbird Records. MP3 via the good folks at Better Propaganda.