Born Alexander Gordon de Menthon in 1981, in Cambridge, England, this assuredly brooding singer/songwriter -- whose material displayed a balance of melancholy and hope -- eventually chose to use his late grandmother's maiden name when he began a solo career. Wolfe emerged from a family with a creative background, and his brother Jamie Scallion, who fronted the indie rock act Officer Kicks, also went on to write fiction for young adults. Wolfe grew up in Woolwich, southeast London, and a chance meeting in a Denmark Street guitar shop with a pre-fame Jamie Cullum led to the pair forming a band under the name Taxi. By mid-2002 the group had disbanded, and while Cullum followed a jazz route, Wolfe slowly carved out his own sound, which nodded to the downbeat indie of both Elbow and Doves, but perhaps more prominently displayed an affinity with folk music.
Funded by the sale of a Rembrandt lithographic print that he had inherited from a family member, the main sessions for Wolfe's debut album took place at Wheeler End Studios in Buckinghamshire, a facility that was leased at the time to Noel Gallagher. Issued in March 2010, Morning Brings a Flood, benefitted from a painstaking recording process in which Wolfe recorded every instrument apart from the horns, strings, and drums, the latter of which was played by former member of the Stands, Steve Pilgrim. "Song for the Dead" -- a track which recalled the sea shantey indie rock of the aforementioned Stands and their Liverpudlian contemporaries -- received regular national plays when it opened and closed Alan Davies' BBC2 sitcom Whites. Wolfe's aptly titled second album, 2012's Skeletons, was a stripped-back, largely acoustic collection recorded over a weekend at his parents' house back in Woolwich, with the assistance of close friend, Jan "Stan" Kybert. Alongside original compositions, the album featured a cover of Neil Young's "Don't Let It Bring You Down," which was also issued as a single that year. A third album, From the Shallows, which returned to the full-band format, was released in October 2014 and included the single "Sunburn." That track's video featured Huey Morgan of Fun Lovin' Criminals, and was funded in a way that raised money for The Children's Trust. ~ James Wilkinson, Rovi