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Patrick Wolf - The Magic Position

Reviewed by Andreas on 8th March 2007

When rawkstar.net spoke to Patrick Wolf back in the autumn of 2005, the young man was just gearing up for a tour of the UK with Bloc Party. At the time he was supporting the last single to come off his second album, a dark song called "Tristan". In our interview, which you can read here, Wolf hinted that "The Magic Position" would finally give the world the marriage of the harpsichord and disco. In itself the mere concept is enough to make the bones tremble with fear. Additionally, he promised an album full of joy and good old fashioned positive thinking. After the teenage-angsty debut "Lycantrophy" and the dark-like-Thomas-Hardy second album, "Wind in the Wires", maybe some happiness is a welcome change.

As such, there is precious little on "The Magic Position" that causes anything but pleasantness. The title track jumps out instantly, laden with hooks and violins. Furthermore it cements the idea of happiness and joy that runs through the album. "Get Lost", a song that comes in during the latter half of the album is happy in the same way that, say, Architecture in Helsinki are happy. You know, the type of infectiously smiling glee that spreads like wildfire. At a push towards the bad metaphors you could say it's almost like a sunny day's picnic.

Yet the dramatic edge that made Wolf's previous albums so special is far from gone. "Magpie", a duet with Marianne Faithfull, is dark and wonderous, although Faithfull sounds a bit like someone's nan contributing to a pop song. Single "Bluebells" mixes Kate Bush with boyish instincts to produce a song about addictions and hope (here I could be wrong; I read the lyrics twice). "Augustine" is a song about "a romantic encounter between a boy and an adder" according to Wolf himself (videocast released on iTunes). Slightly creepy, but also the second best song on the record with its mix of ukulele, piano and oddly romantic lyrics. The chorus is one of those moments that you hum for a few days after hearing it - which surely isn't a bad thing.

A strong closer is essential for any album. Far too many releases have the "singles" in the first four tracks, only to have the entire thing fizzle out into obscurity near the end. Ok, "The Magic Position" does contain a vaguely pointless outro track called "Finale" that is just some ambient sizzlings that last for almost two minutes, but the last proper song could be the best on the album. "The Stars" is a triumphant, violin and electronic beats and vocals that approach what critics will call "Soaring". It's a good song. Hell, it's an amazing song. It's the type of song that could lighten up a Sting record. Yes. Sting.

As with any album, "The Magic Position" isn't without faults, but we like it so much we won't talk about those. Instead we'll just tell you to get the album, and include a convenient link at the bottom. Enjoy.

Rating: 8/10
Website: www.patrickwolf.com
Buy It Now: amazon.co.uk

Comments

Gravatar Zenchan Electric Mainline says:-

The second half of the album is a bit of a mess, but as the first half is so good I'll let him off with it.

1st April 2007 @ 22:22:07 GMT

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