Alibi V.16 No.21 • May 24-30, 2007 

Sonic Reducer

Sea Wolf Get to the River Before It Runs Too Low (Dangerbird Records)

The past few years have seen a semi-deluge of wolf-in-name musical ensembles: Wolf Eyes, Wolfmother and now Sea Wolf (this on top of a metal band named Wolf, not to mention Los Lobos). On the debut EP from solitary permanent band member Alex Brown Church, Sea Wolf may be the most promising member of the wolfly titled club. The arrangement is an evocation of moody melody propelled by violins, cellos, lyrical storytelling, astute percussion and a concertina or two. The five songs are mostly lovely and fully worthy of borrowing name and inspiration from Sea Wolf, Jack London's 1904 novel.

Panthers The Trick (Vice Records)

Panthers is a man's band: It evokes no effeminacy and, instead, compiles driving, distorted, dark songs that expressly appeal to the manly alterna-male. On this, the band's second album on the Vice label (and fourth release overall), drum solos, shredding and free jazzesque rock jams just aren't designed for such a girly-girl like me. However, I can think of some Melvins-loving dudes who'd really appreciate The Trick.

Hot IQs Dangling Modifier (Yaw Act!on Records)

Finally! For devotees of Denver's Hot IQs, the new songs on this EP—the first in three years—are a long time coming. The additions provide an enticing insight into the band's development, with songs embodying more layered, advanced structures that remain within the bounds of a patently pop aesthetic. Like their 2004 LP, Dangling Modifier is so brilliantly simple that both eggheads and philistines will similarly extol the quality this three-piece purveys ... with different language.