October 29, 2009

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Sea Wolf, White Water, White Bloom
Dangerbird Records, Sept. 22

Since, like most half-invisible hipster-bait, this second LP from Alex Brown Church and his famous-but-don’t-call-us-famous Bright Eyes accomplices has only a flea-like effect on me, I can’t say for sure whether it’s bad for you, although the obvious Arcade Fire fanboyism present in the fade of leadoff track “Wicked Blood” does set the national IQ back a few points (not that it’s inherently stupid to ride an urgent-sounding college-rock groove and underscore its musical message with a “fiddle” and a piano, but it has, you see, been done) (And never mind that Church is doing his darnedest to sound exactly like Win Butler). Church’s experiments have improved over the ones he tried in debut album Leaves in the River (a given when one of them involved proffering an accordion as replacement for the hopefully fast-dying xylophone as essential hipster tool), such as the mahogany-antique quality of the Decemberists-admiring “Dew in the Grass.” Get where this is going yet, avoiders of aimless clones, or do I have to mention that “Orion & Dog” is a wanton, shameless nick of Bright Eyes? CEWS