Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Album Review: Patrick Wolf - Lupercalia

Wild, outlandish, and flamboyant pop stars are a dime a dozen nowadays. We’ve got Katy Perry gallivanting around in her videos dressed like an alien, singing of bi-curious explorations and whatnot. Then we get Lady Gaga, a woman whose fashion ranges from dresses made from bubbles to dresses made of meat. However bizarre these musicians may be, there is really only one Patrick Wolf, and he’s absolutely one of a kind. While Wolf more than often indulges in the extravagant, his unpredictably strange image is bolstered by something neither Gaga nor Perry have: substance.
You see, while it’s true that Wolf’s physical and stage appearance would lead one to believe that he’s just another flash in the pan pop artist, his music not only matches the egregious style, but exceeds it in every respect. Bold, beautiful, and everything else indie-pop should be, Wolf’s music is consistently fantastic, and his latest Lupercalia is no different.

Lupercalia sees Wolf indulging in a lighter atmosphere, as opposed to the rather dark and melancholy sound found on his debut. It’s as thoughtful as 2009’s The Bachelor, while being just as streamlined as his breakthrough The Magic Position, finding an intensely pleasant dichotomy. Once more, the multi-instrumentalist proves that he’s got some musical chops, as Lupercalia is an impressively crafted piece of work. It’s stunningly well produced, and everything melds together in a pitch perfect way. Wolfe still warbles charmingly, and the unbelievable amount of variation is just a present here as ever. Acoustics give way to chilled electronics and amiable beats, and the entire package just feels so consistent and cohesive.

Wolf’s fifth studio album is a rather curt affair, which is honestly one of its stronger points. Never once does the album drag, as each song has its own flavor, making for an album that just keeps on giving. “The Days” offers a sultry and beautiful song, while “Together” gives the listener a more electronic, deliberately paced track. It’s variation within the songs that really makes the album truly fantastic, with a replay value that could last anyone through the summer.

Lupercalia is a crowning achievement and a truly excellent album over all. Wolfe has found a stunning medium between his more pop and indie sensibilities, making the album a true tour de force. Lupercalia is exciting and beautiful, but more importantly, it is the sound of a musician impassioned with his art—so listen.



The City
Bermondsey Street
The Future
Time Of My LIfe
The Days
Slow Motion
The Falcons

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