Review : Patrick Wolf - The Bachelor
SlantmagazinLeading up to the release of his fourth album, The Bachelor, Patrick Wolf has been treading perilously close to the line that separates a healthy kind of artistic self-indulgence from unchecked egotism. From picking a feud with Mika on his (admittedly hilarious) MySpace blog and announcing a retirement that ended up being shorter than Jay-Z's, to making claims that he wanted his fans to buy "shares" of his new album, Wolf's attention-whoring and petulance might overshadow his work were The Bachelor not so brilliant.
Supposedly written during a period of romantic disillusionment, the album filters Wolf's bitterness through his outsized dramatic flair. Opener "Hard Times" starts off as an homage to Joy Division before exploding into a chorus of jagged strings and sarcastic gospel choirs calling out for revolution. The twitchy, stuttering "Oblivion" and haunting "Theseus" are highlighted by spoken-word passages from actress and fellow kook Tilda Swinton; it's the kind of stunt that would smack of pretension on almost any other album by almost any other artist, but Swinton's recitations work in the heady context created by Wolf's theatricality and his willingness to draw from such a broad spectrum of pop-culture influences.
That Wolf is something of a scavenger is the focus of the album's phenomenal first single, "Vulture," on which collaborator Alec English deconstructs what sounds a lot like Muse's "Supermassive Black Hole" over some Depeche Mode-style electronic loops while Wolf obliquely recounts the breakdown he suffered on his last tour and yelps about out-of-control forest fires and rotting flesh. His campy affect on the song and throughout its decidedly NSFW video give the single something of an ironic remove, but tracks like "The Sun Is Often Out" and "Who Will" find Wolf more emotionally naked and vulnerable....full text
PrettymuchamazingAnd here is the fourteenth installment of the pmaCAST, a bi-monthly playlist that I hope will enrich and soundtrack your week. This week I went with a digital vibe that I have been shaking off for a while now. It has caught up with me, and has now permeated through the pmaCAST. I use some all-time favorites (Belle & Sebastien, LCD Soundsystem, Roisin Murphy, Daft Punk, Peaches) as well as some new-found loves (Fred Falke, obiously, everyone else).
I’m not going to upload and post up all of the tracks like I did last time, but I will put up a few tracks featured on this weeks’ playlist that I think will make your life a lot less sucky....full text
MusicomhSelf-restraint is not Patrick Wolf's strongpoint. Since first coming to prominence as a precocious urchin celebrating folk music and technology on the remarkable debut Lycanthropy, he has grown into a hyperreal caricature of disaffected youth. Over the past six years he has gone through more record contracts and management deals than he has hair colours, sacrificing shots at commercial success to retain creative freedom.
When he announced his latest release, The Bachelor, it was to be part of a brace of albums. But now his fourth long player appears alone, its partner destined for release next year. Having left his deal with Universal, The Bachelor is put out with help from Bandstocks, with fans buying shares to fund its release. This willingness to fly by the seat of his pants - or inconsistency, as you might call it - is matched only by Wolf's adherence to a formula for his releases....full text
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