White Water, White Bloom, the sophomore album from Sea Wolf, starts out in much the same way that his last album did: with a slow, atmospheric build up. If I hadn't already internalized most of Leaves in the River, it would be tough to tell these albums apart.
Sea Wolf doesn't stray far from the gypsy pop formula that made the first album so memorable: a little Arcade Fire, a dash of Decemberists, some Bright Eyes and a heaping of melody. Except for the melodies, these traits seem to be a bit more exaggerated the second time around.
This isn't a bad thing. If you do something well, don't abandon it. White Water, White Bloom plays it safe and that doesn't disappoint me, but they tracks that make a slight departure from the familiar are the ones that stand out in my mind the most.
“O Maria!” is as loud as you'll ever hear Sea Wolf and it soars. The title track that follows backs off on the bombardment slightly. The track evolves nicely moving between full band and just piano and acoustic guitar. The melody is the only one I've found myself humming unintentionally.
Overall, White Water, White Bloom is another solid effort from Sea Wolf even if it feels a bit like a rerun.
Sea Wolf will be performing with Port O'Brien and Sara Lov tomorrow, Wednesday, Oct. 21, at the Nightlight in Chapel Hill. Tickets can be purchased in advance for $8 or at the door for $10.