Patrick Wolf – The Magic Position (2007): Review

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Produced by Patrick Wolf
Label – Loog Records

Eccentricity can be a strength and weakness for many artists. As English/Irish art rocker Patrick Wolf prepared for the North American release of his third studio LP, just a few days beforehand, and with considerable expectation due to a strong reaction from UK audiences, he decided to quit live performances and communication with the media. In his words, “I am not sure whether there will anymore public communications, in fact I’m pretty sure there will be none”. The true reason for his decision was uncertain, but reaction following his drummer passing out on stage during a New York show left a considerable hole in his potential to fulfill dates. Silence at a time when promotion was vital (particularly as he’d secured a slot as support for The Arcade Fire), and it was a dreadful shame the album didn’t get the exposure it deserved.

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“The Magic Position” is a strange pop sound collage indeed, and many would have been enticed by the single “Accident And Emergency”, a catchy tune interlaced with industrial noises, booming rhythms and an endearing lunatic insistence. It’s a strong blueprint for an album that achieves more highs than lows, taking in the influence of left field pop over many generations, from the glam of Bowie, to the chamber bohemia of Antony And The Johnsons and Rufus Wainwright. The piano ballads work well, particularly the duet with Marianne Faithfull, on the dark, but beautiful “Magpie”. Equally mesmerizing is the gentle “Augustine”, and the title track has a buoyant, love struck simplicity, and reminds one of Kevin Rowlands, circa “Too Rye Aye”, with ripping strings and stomping kettle drums. There are moments when Wolf’s song craft is muzzled by indecipherable drowning rhythms(“Overture”), or repetitive melodies (“Bluebells”), but overall, there is much to admire from an artist who has character and originality.

Overall, “The Magic Position” contains numerous complex and richly textured tunes, and plenty of eccentric nooks and crannies to worm your way into.

7/10

Track Listing
1.”Overture” – 4:40
2.”The Magic Position” – 3:53
3.”Accident & Emergency” – 3:17
4.”The Bluebell” – 1:11
5.”Bluebells” – 5:17
6.”Magpie” – 3:57
7.”X” – 1:05
8.”Augustine” – 4:19
9.”Secret Garden” – 1:49
10.”Get Lost” – 3:17
11.”Enchanted” – 2:07
12.”The Stars” – 3:51
13.”Finale” – 1:57

Patrick Wolf – Lupercalia (2011): Review

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