Album Reviews

Album Review: Patrick Wolf – The Bachelor (Bloody Chamber/BattleCo)

By | Published on Monday 1 June 2009

Patrick Wolf

“Exposing your whole life in the end adds authenticity to what you do, even if there are risks being so open and provocative”, says Patrick Wolf of ‘The Bachelor’, his fourth studio album and first since his split from major label Universal, who released his last record, the poppy (and “shallow”, his word) 2007 outing ‘The Magic Position’. A hybrid concoction of futuristic, avant garde digital pop and romantic English folk music, ‘The Bachelor’ is Wolf’s most frank work to date, and is fifty-two minutes of dark, emotionally guileless perfection. A chronological account of Patrick’s depression during the tour of ‘Position’ and his fifteen-minutes as a rising pop star, ‘The Bachelor’ ends where his next promised album ‘The Conqueror’ begins – when he ditches his plastic wings, returns home, finds love, and recovers his roots. The album begins like a storm – a slow but sure warning with ‘Kriegspiel’ and the unexpectedly guitar-filled ‘Hard Times’, the latter of which is rich with lyrics about wanting to find the need to overcome and Patrick’s ultimate dissatisfaction. ‘The Bachelor’, ‘Damaris’, ‘Thickets’ and ‘Blackdown’ are the album’s romantic and quintessentially English folk turns, where Wolf makes breathtaking use of marching band acoustics, field solos and sound samples from pagan festivals to create a darkly ritualistic theme that resonates through the entire LP. And there’s no forgetting the brassy, techno-influenced sound of ‘Vulture’, something that is certainly not lost; it is intertwined perfectly amongst Patrick’s signature folk sound, and the combination hasn’t played this damn good since ‘Lycanthropy’. A solid and electric offering, and evidence that this man is truly more than just the Bowie of our generation – Patrick Wolf has honestly made one of the most courageous and heartbreaking albums of this year so far. TW

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