Tuesday, December 20, 2005
Albums Of The Year: Number 12
We were vaguely aware of Patrick Wolf's reputation as the urchin child - proper urchin, not Pete Doherty wearing ragged jackets - of the electrofolk scene but were struggling to fully get it until we saw him live. Shorn of anything eminating from a laptop, we were won completely over by the oddly approached but meaningful songwriting and sheer, well, musicianship, if that doesn't put too many off. Wolf studied composition at the Trinity College Music Conservatoire and it was here that it showed - whereas so many who play in the shifting genre of electrowhatever value the glitchpop over the melody, these songs have light and shade, completely in control of their own dynamics, blood running through their theoretical veins. The songs are never crowded, which allows his own elliptical worldview to take centre stage. When he sang The Shadowsea live acapella, the rest of the room, in no mean feat, turned deathly quiet.
Wind In The Wires was recorded in Cornwall and it sounds like it, or at least a short story version of it, beyond naming tracks Teignmouth and Land's End - windswept, overcast and inhabited by characters beset with wistfulness edged out by some form of seasonal afflictive disorder. Whatever bad place Wolf found himself in while writing has fed into a set of songs founded against whatever life has thrown at the narrator, feeling down but often sensing the silver lining is on its way. "My name is Tristan, and I am alive!" declares the titular character almost against the elements. Alongside elements of Kurt Weill and Nick Cave, it's at these points that the comparisons to Kate Bush, whose Running Up That Hill he makes his own live, make perfect sense, both singular songwriters and compositionists who have the ability to weave intricacies out of situations and imagery sometimes well outside the usual spectrum.
LISTEN IN: The Libertine
EXTRA FEATURE: A typically cheery chat with Playlouder