Album Review

Fog Swamp Clear the Air

Fog Swamp - Slinkin'

Musician, broadcaster and environmentalist Alex Wise previously made his mark with a pair of solo albums entitled Front Porch and Blurred, but this time around he opts instead to surround himself with a talented group of San Francisco-based players who call themselves Fog Swamp. At first, the meaning of that handle may appear unclear, but even a cursory listen to their debut EP manages to clear up the confusion. Bluesy to a degree, the music conveys a swampy sound that’s sly, shifting and consistently seductive, an ideal combination that immediately sets them apart from the competition. Though only eight songs long, it manages to establish a template that allows freedom of expression while also reinforcing the sextet’s ample instrumental prowess. Opening track “Slinkin’” (repeated with an unadorned acoustic version as a bonus track add-on) provides some a sly introduction, but as the set progresses, there are other examples of their furtive style, from keyboard balladry (“Elemental Structures”) and a cautionary caress (“Split the Sky”) to ernest intents (“Ever After”) and a seductive shuffle (“Cliche Blues”). Still, Slinkin’ seems a teaser at best, one that leaves the listener eagerly anticipating what will hopefully come soon after.