The debut album from Sea Wolf, Leaves in the River (Dangerbird Records), introduced the world to Alex Brown Church’s enchanting tales, calling to mind a novel, much like the one whose name he shares. The press praised his storytelling as cinematic, his music as “a blend of swirling melodies, literary balladry, and damaged art-rock composition,” and his characters eliciting the “sepia tones of old-timey photos.” His songs made waves at radio and MTV2, were featured in commercials and primetime television. He toured extensively. Shows sold out.
Lured by the multi-cultural aura of Montreal, Church relocated from L.A., took time off from touring and began generating content for a new record. Soaking in the foreign territory, he allowed his outsider’s perspective to guide his prose. “Being somewhere new, away from your home, you spend a lot of time observing and reflecting,” Church revealed, “And just the feeling of a new city can inspire new ideas, new places to explore in your music.”
The California-based songwriter has since burrowed himself and his band inside producer Mike Mogis’ A.R.C recording studios in Omaha. Best known as a member and producer of Bright Eyes, as well as his work with Rilo Kiley and M. Ward, Mogis was hand-picked after the two realized they shared a common vision for Church’s second full-length. “I had a pretty clear idea of how I wanted the record to sound, particularly the drums and vocals,” Church offered. “ I had a feeling Mike could do it based on the sounds of his previous records, and when we finally got on the phone about it, I just got a good feeling from him. He seemed to really get what I wanted to do.”
While Leaves was written as a solo artist, the album’s lush orchestrations were fully realized on the road with the help of a sextet. For these new sessions, Church is looking to encapsulate the dynamism that one can only create with a full band. “I wanted this record to capture the energy of the live show and the feel of the band as it is now. It’s going to be a bit fuller and more dynamic than Leaves.” Three of the touring members of Sea Wolf are currently alongside Church, contributing to the work in progress.
The as-yet-untitled sophomore album will be released in September on Dangerbird Records.