07 September, 2011

Superb Pop Emotion (Patrick Wolf - Lupercalia. Hideout Records)


            Wikipedia reliably informs me that this is Wolf's fifth album. I didn't get into him until now; he always seemed to be an odd pop cult. However, after hearing The City, I borrowed the album from a friend. The City is an anthemic love song, which in a way is indicative of the album, but in another sense is much more ostentatiously pop-y than the other songs.

            Slow, understated and calm would be how I would describe the rest of the album. Wolf has a gift for using powerful words, addictive melodies, and about fifteen instruments per song. Songs such as 'The Falcons', 'Together' and 'Bermondsey Street' are anthemic and uplifting, and note that the album is a brilliant set of car songs. A voice that is stunning, powerful but subtle, Wolf seems to have found his sound. Listening back to his previous singles on Youtube, this seems to be the sort of music I would plead with him to make.

            I managed to see him live by chance at Reading Festival 2011, between two bands I was watching, and he is definitely a true showman. It is fantastic to see the production behind the songs, all of the instruments and band which build up to the crescendo of sound on each song. Often, having to recreate such a sound live can spoil the original recording, but Wolf manages to make both sound incredible. Highlights included 'Time of My Life' live, and 'Bermondsey Street' , which started with an acoustic rendition, which left two of my friends in tears. However, this isn't on the bbc3 highlight coverage, so that brilliant performance may have to remain a distant memory.

            In all, listen to the album, it packs a powerful punch of REAL MUSIC, and if you can, see Wolf live because he really is bloody good. A little more openness with the crowd wouldn't go amiss, but you've got to admire how he puts on a show of mystery - probably why his fans are, like I said above, a sort of cult.

The boy can certainly play a lot of instruments - **** (out of 5)

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