Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Patrick Wolf's Lupercalia

Patrick Wolf

A couple of months ago, I got a note from Val Frederick to point out that I have been remiss in posting about Patrick Wolf. Val was quite right, and I planned to fix it. Yet it went on the back burner, until I was reminded last week by Robert German, who mentioned the new album, Lupercalia. So I scurried over to iTunes and purchased it, and discovered one of the strongest Pop feasts I've had the pleasure to partake in a long time.

For those of you who might not be aware of Patrick Wolf, he is a British singer/songwriter of note, despite his young age. He burst on to the music scene in 2003 with his first full-length album, Lycanthropy. Wolf immediately established himself as a rather edgy artist, creating a collision of classical and punk music and mentality, and somehow emerging with Pop. The feel of his music was somewhat dark, mystical, and often mythological, and at times baroque, while others medieval. The use of reeds, strings and electronics was mixed freely, almost with abandon. The lines were equally blurred in his life, as questions of his sexuality and partners were often met with vagaries, saying his bisexuality left him unsure who his next partner would be.

Fast forward 8 years to the release of his latest album, Lupercalia, and the evolution could be startling.Patrick is apparently quite happy and in love, engaged to boyfriend William Pollock. This comes through his music in a way I think has not been heard before, making for a joyous listening experience, something I quite frankly never expected. You can tell just by listening to the first cut, or watching the video for The City.

But before I get too carried away, I will say there are a few moments that are not all happy, rainbows and unicorns. Armistice is a beautiful, heartfelt elegy, dedicated to love, complete with the bombastic moments one would expect from Wolf. The Days is another song that has more of a throwback to Wolfs earlier music, but still with a greater sheen on it than before. That, and the next track, Slow Motion, have that layered and textured feel that is classic Wolf, with some amazing vocals that, at times, just soar.

However, the second cut, Home, is not one of those songs that resembles a French Baroque composition. No, it is solely an amazing pop song, pure and simple. It combines that bombastic nature and new-found happiness to allow Wolf to scale new heights with his impressive voice.

At the beginning of the track Time of My Life, I was swearing it was gonna break out into a fabulous 80s dance song, but told myself no, it's Patrick Wolf. Well, sonuva bitch, sometime during the recording process, Bryan Ferry took control of of the session, and a great track emerged. And I was grateful it was someone amazing like Ferry, ya know...

For more about Patrick Wolf, check out his official website here. You can [and should] purchase Lupercalia anyplace music is sold, but in particularly on iTunes or If you are a fan of Pop music, this should be a part of your musical collection. Should be mandatory, really. And makes me want to go back and revisit his earlier music.

Patrick Wolf - Lupercalia


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