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Patrick Wolf

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When I saw Patrick Wolf at the Haldern Festival recently, I thought what a brave boy he is to go up on stage with only his viola and his iBook (a.k.a. a white knight of a laptop) at two in the afternoon with few hungover people watching. And he did well, playing an interesting kind of electronic music which I thought I could hear more often.

They sold the LP at the local record store but I was reluctant to get it because it was a 45rpm affair. Being a lazy bastard who owns a record player where you have to take off the turntable to change speeds, I was reluctant to buy it. That’s the lesson I learned from Radiohead’s Hail to the Thief record which I fail to listen to regularly enough because of this. I also have a tedency to prefer having electronic music on a CD. Not only does it feel more adequate but for some stuff like Sigur Rós not having to flip sides is better. To cut a long story short, I ended up ordering and eventually getting the CD.

Patrick Wolf Lycanthropy CD cover The CD is named Lycanthropy. I don’t like the photo on CD’s cover too much, but appreciate the ornamented writing. The booklet is filled with lyrics, drawings and scribblings and a note by Patrick. Which is nice.

Lycanthropy for me is a survival instinct in the face of a full moon
barriers – bullies – intellectuals bogiemen and fear-failure
you grow these thick dark hairs – claws sharp teeth and you crawl on all fours till the sun comes up.

The music is nice as well and I get used to it more and more. It starts off with a bit of howling that fades into the Wolf Song which perhaps is quite typical for the kind of music on the album: some simple instruments, singing which is quite clear and some beats which accumulate a bit. This is followed by the distinctly more electronic Bloodbeat and the very good To the Lighthouse (I was living on borrowed time in a borrowed house for a borrowed crime.), the first few seconds of which always remind me of one of the songs by Jan Garbarek and the Hilliard Ensemble and for which there is a lo-fi black and white video which reminds me of early silent films. Next up is the Pigeon Song, which features and accordion and is a bit slower. It’s the first song on the record dealing with London, the other being London which features Big Ben ringing. And together with Paris, those two make good additions to my Around the World playlist.

In Don’t say No there’s more mixing of instruments and beats along with wonderful lyrics:

I used to say ‘just follow your heart’
but my heaert always led me in circles.
And I used to say ‘just follow your dreams’
but my dreams always led me to murder.
So now I don’t say nothing at all
I just bow my head to the battle.

A thousand miles above our heads
they are weaving
giant patterns around the sun.
If you’re brave enough you’ll just let it happen,
if you’re brave enough you’ll just succumb.

Don’t say no to it.
You can’t say no to it.

Just throw yourself in
just give yourself in
to the pattern.

A thousand miles above our heads
they are bleeding
mighty currents upon the day.
If you’re brave enough you’ll just let it happen,
if you’re brave enough you’ll give yourself away.

Don’t say no to it.
You can’t say no to it.

Patrick Wolf – Don’t say No

And after this song with its funny sample-rich ending comes, on track 7, the album’s strongest track The Childcatcher. Its lyrics are scary, on abuse, and there is music to match with good use of percussions and distortion – culminating in massive beat filled cries of Run run run – as fast as you can! A good occasion to max out your stereo. iPods, particularly the European ones, don’t do this justice.

There are two more quiet songs, Demolition and Peter Pan, the latter of which sounds like it could be sung by Adam Green, both musically and lyrically. The album then comes to an end in its title song Lycanthropy, which does nice work with many instruments but I don’t like too much, and the funny and energetic A Boy like me … is told he is both nine and ninety before finishing with the classical sounding instrumental Epilogue.

Quite an album. Go and listen to it if you’re interested in modern music and not completely offended by the thought of electronic processing of sounds. With the music having the unusual combination of using modern and classical instruments and arrangements while being very intense, it may be interesting to read this so-called interview where we learn that Patrick thinks music shouldn’t be too intellectual – in an up-your-ass sense. Yet – or rather, consequently, – he recommends listening to Arvo Pärt on his website. How refreshing.

Patrick playing at Haldern

[Buy at amazon .com, .uk, .de]

October 10, 2004, 19:05

Tagged as patrick wolf.


Comment by ssp: User icon

Read about Patrick’s second album, Wind in the Wires, as well.

June 17, 2005, 16:20

Comment by chris: User icon

Patrick should tour America more often.

September 1, 2005, 8:40

Comment by léa: User icon

and Patrick should tour France more often too!

September 14, 2005, 22:10

Comment by Mitchelle: User icon

should also come back to holland

September 23, 2005, 21:19

Comment by Tasha: User icon

He is a great idol of mine alongside Rufus Wainwright. It’s a shame not a lot of people will be enlightened by his music, however i do try to advertise by making people listen to him!

December 13, 2005, 16:22

Comment by Tamsin: User icon

Patrick is truely an amazing person in all the sense of the word .x.x.x.x.x

December 24, 2005, 17:09

Comment by Dan: User icon

Patrick wolf is purely impirational, saw him last year. more ppl need to hear him.

January 6, 2006, 3:52

Comment by cecilia: User icon

surely there is only one ‘sense’ of the word ‘amazing’?

January 26, 2006, 0:31

Comment by Hannah: User icon

I love his music very very much and it is such a shame that it doesn’t meet as many people as it deserves to. I saw him supporting Bloc Party last October and he was incredible. Really intense music. Hopefully more people will give his albums a listen this year.

February 12, 2006, 13:35

Comment by Amanda: User icon


April 16, 2006, 5:23

Comment by Emily: User icon

I’ve never heard music more astounding and touching as Patrick Wolf’s. He is truly amazing on many levels.

May 4, 2006, 2:28

Comment by helz: User icon

i got this album the other day and i love it. i also love the fact that he plays the viola as i play it too ;-D i’m really getting into his music now and im planning on seeing him on his next UK tour. good to see other bloggers like him too, his music is so unique and deserves recognition.

December 14, 2006, 21:12

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