Why isn’t Patrick Wolf a star? In a world of instantly forgettable Simon Cowell constructs and cynically engineered bands, we need his brand of passionate, literate, wonderfully idiosyncratic pop now more than ever.
A teenage classically trained musical prodigy; Wolf had released two albums of introverted, sombre electronic folk music by the tender age of 24 before taking a leap into the mainstream with his breakthrough album ‘The Magic Position’ in 2007. And while boasting mighty pop tunes in the form of the title track and the swooningly romantic ‘Stars’, and seeing his charismatic persona splashed across television screens across the land, ‘Magic Position’ only managed the lower reaches of the Top 100. Hurt, he retreated to lick his wounds and release the dark and ambitious concept album, ‘The Bachelor’ which detailed the year of loneliness he endured trying to make it in the big leagues.
If Wolf seemed ambivalent about success then, it doesn’t show on his new album, ‘Lupercalia’ which is simply his finest work yet. Anchored by the joyously anthemic single, ‘The City’ (with its jaunty key lyric of “top of the morning!”), the album offers a rush of musical ecstasy with summer pop stompers like ‘House’ and ‘Bermondsey Street’ tempered by slower waltzes. A document of his experience of falling deeply in love with the man he’s about to marry this summer, the album’s heady romanticism goes someway to explaining the album’s obscure title which references an ancient pastoral festival that was a forerunner to Valentine’s Day.
In this video portrait directed by John Lindquist (who photographed the album artwork), the musical accompaniment comes from Wolf’s song, “Slow Motion". As Patrick tells it, “It represents finally letting go of my past and being focused on my present and future. I see it as me at 27, engaged to be married and conquering my demons, brushing off the ashes from all my crashes.”
He continues, “I commissioned these audio visual portraits because I wanted to bring some life back into the digital format. Now with most people buying albums mainly online I didn't want a generation to lose the joy of experiencing artwork. So I wanted to make moving artwork, an artwork booklet that moved for the ipad and laptop generation. So the five Lupercalia video portraits by John Lindquist come at the end of my album as the audiovisual component.”
Lupercalia is released on 20th June