Morning Brings a Flood - Alexander Wolfe Album Review
I encountered Alexander Wolfe purely by chance; a friend, Oliver Lansley, directed the video for 'Stuck Under September' - a beautiful, bohemian affair (a short film rather than a music video - which premiered at the National Galley last year) perfect for this astoundingly moving track (the closing track on 'Morning Brings a Flood') - since then I have obtained the album and never looked back!
'Morning Brings a Flood' is Wolfe's debut album, boasting an eclectic mix of music perfect for show casing this rising stars talent. The gentle opening track, 'Prague Song', builds slowly with a laid back guitar riff and a quiet beat which gradually builds to include the sultry vocal of Wolfe. He has a voice reminiscent of Jeff Buckley, but British and dare I say it...better. 'Prague Song' is a great opening track and builds in music and vocal for a crashing climax. Track 2, 'Lazybones', opens with mouth organ, guitar and percussion, very much in the style of Ray Lamontagne and just as laid back. This song is a joy to behold and carries the listener through happily enjoying every beat and every note.
The opening tracks of this album are good, but it is not until track 3, 'Till Your Ship Comes In', that you realise just how good Alexander Wolfe is. He has an imposing talent for grabbing every emotion in your body and just playing with them. I can't listen to this album without going through my whole spectrum of emotions. This song in particular gives me the most incredible goosebumps! A quiet track, with vocal and strings, 'Till Your Ship Comes In' is stripped back in the manner of classic Nick Drake, and it is just as good. 'Song for the Dead', track 4, again starts quietly but builds into a rather jolly song (especially considering the theme!). Very different to the previous track demonstrating the range of musical styles Wolfe can cover very successfully! Again, track 5 'Teabags and Ashtrays' (my favourite song title!) takes the listener on a different trajectory - musically accomplished and lyrically interesting this is a cracking song, as are tracks 6 and 7: 'Empty Morning' and 'Movement'. 'Movement' is a complete direction change, sounding more like Dave Matthews Band than anything heard previously on this record. It is still a success and is once again representative of Wolfe's fearsome talent!
'Breakdown (follow the leader)' is another example of emotion laid bare, a theme well expressed on this album, as is track 9 'True Love Lies' (the perfect accompaniment for anyone with an ache in their heart). The penultimate track, 'This Submarine', brings the listener out of the void of emotion created by the previous two tracks, and although my least favourite song on the album, it prepares us for what is to come. The closing track is also the finest song on 'Morning Brings a Flood'. 'Stuck Under September' is a phenomenal song, Wolfe's vocal is perfect and the strings backing the track add so much to the beauty of this song. The lyrics are poignant and moving, especially when accompanied by the short film, and it is hard to do anything else whilst this track is playing. You want to hear every word and every syllable Wolfe has to utter. This is a beautiful way to end this absolutely incredible album.
Alexander Wolfe is playing a series of gigs across London and I urge you to catch him live in these intimate venues before it is too late! This album is a happy reminder that beautiful music doesn't have to be saccharine and nauseating. It can be pure, simple and written from the heart. Expect great things from Alexander Wolfe.
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