In September 2008 â€“ about a year before the release of his second album under the Sea Wolf name â€“ Alex Brown Church sounded like a man in need of a change. I got to interview him during his opening run for Okkervil River at the time, when the Los Angeles-based Church was spending half the year in Montreal with his girlfriend. Said Church: “Being here is a really interesting experience because it’s bilingual and different culturally from Los Angeles. I’ve been longing to not be in L.A. for a while but not really knowing where else to go. It’s been a nice break.”
Fast-forward almost four years, and Church has returned to familiar surroundings. Church and his girlfriend moved back to L.A., where he wrote his third album, Old World Romance, due out Sept. 11 on Dangerbird Records.
“Old Friend,” the first single from the new album, is the makeup to the breakup â€“ a sort of apology for leaving but a celebration of returning home: “Old friend come to me / everything I was, I used to be / I went north and I went east / following in the footsteps of some beautiful beast.”
Church obviously had a good reason to go â€“ we all have to go at some point. But you can go home again.
Church told the Los Angeles Times: “It was inspiring to be in another city, but it also felt very alone, other than being with her and her friends. Sheâ€™s a French Canadian, and all of her friends are French Canadian, so I didnâ€™t have any English friends there. Thereâ€™s a cultural barrier that goes along with that. Coming home to California was really inspiring. I just felt comfortable.”
Old World Romance track list:
1. Old Friend
2. In Nothing
5. Blue Stockings
6. Saint Catherine St.
7. Changing Seasons
8. Dear Fellow Traveler
9. Miracle Cure