Multi-instrumentalist Alexander Wolfe sounds a sombre chap on this debut album: his racket is downbeat, brooding pop and the tracks here suggest songwriting informed by a past heartbreak or two. ‘Prague song’, which kicks things off, is a good indication of the singer-songwriter’s style: it’s a slow-burning number that builds and couples Wolfe’s acoustic-and-voice approach with a richly orchestrated soundscape, including foreboding snare drums and strings. Vocally, Wolfe is decent enough to articulate his anguish, alternating between tuneful mumbling and injured wailing. More of the same follows, though there is enough variety to keep things interesting.
‘Song for the dead’ is a peach of a track, swapping angst for anger and going for a more immediate, rock-based sound with a killer chorus. It’s at moments like these, when Wolfe chins up and goes for pop sensibility over moody atmosphere, though he’s sufficiently good at both, that this album is at its most enjoyable. Nonetheless, the songwriting and performance on display throughout here are of a rare quality, making for a strong debut from the London-based songsmith.
Released: Sun 22nd Nov 2009
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