Sea Wolf, the name of the musical project put together by Alex Brown Church, is back with its second full length CD, White Water, White Bloom. It's similar to Church's debut, Leaves In the River, minus it's two very catchy radio tracks, "Winter Windows" and "You're A Wolf." In their place is "Wicked Blood," a song that comes close to stealing the same upbeat instrumental vibe.
This is highly produced rock music that fortunately falls short of pretentiousness even while using a small rock orchestra and that's because, just like its predecessor, it's serious and mostly obscure lyrics are often offset by lively tempos that avoid the heaviness of prog-rock. Strings are used in abundance but they don't weigh the music down either. It also helps that Church's somewhat mysterious voice is quite appealing.
In addition to "Wicked Blood," other highlights include the title track, "Spirit Horse," and the hardest rocking song on the disc, "O Maria!"
White Water, White Bloom was produced by Mike Mogis, who is an important part of Bright Eyes, Conor Oberst's musical brainchild. Recently, Mogis and Oberst also teamed up with Jim James of My Morning Jacket and singer-songwriter M. Ward of She & Him to release their first self-titled CD, Monsters of Folk.