By Patrick Wolf
Patrick Wolf is a great man. He has fabulous taste in fashion and thousands share his dislike of Lynx deodorant. For these reasons and many more, he is easily classified as an eccentric. The larger-than-life personality easily carries through into his musical work. Patrick makes use of a wide variety of seemingly randomly selected instruments, ranging from ukuleles to pianos. When his personality is combined with these strong arrangements, it results in some bloody great music.
'The Bachelor' is Patrick's latest project. Unlike past albums, every song seems to connote new, separate ideas and themes. It kicks off with the loud, theatrical romp 'Hard Times,' where Patrick clearly demonstrates his ability to mix string sections with heavy, electronic beats. It's obvious why this song was chosen to become a single; it's catchy and includes some blatant pop vibes. This trend continues throughout the rest of the album, with the vocals slowly developing into something hauntingly operatic.
Contributing to this bombastic, in-your-face aural assault is the singing Oscar winner Tilda Swinton. Her light, airy voice on the tracks 'Theseus', 'Thickets' and 'Oblivion' provide a great counterpart to Patrick's own powerful vocals. Swinton plays the guide to Wolf's lost traveller in most of the songs, with each possessing differing levels of tonality to match their roles. This interesting, innovative collaboration epitomises the sense of variety that 'The Bachelor' is all about.
'Hard Times' calls for a revolution. In many ways, 'The Bachelor' is a drastic change from what we've seen in Patrick's past. Due to the distinct focus on glam pop, it's hard to compare it to his earlier LPs. 'The Bachelor,' much like its namesake, stands alone against the tidal wave of manufactured tat that still dominates the charts. The new direction works. While initially appearing loud, melodramatic and overtly electro, you'll find each record is sublimely comprised of perfect instrumental arrangements and lyrical prowess. Who cares if Patrick is not 'respecting' older fans with such a sudden change to his normal work? 'The Bachelor' is a damn good album and hopefully its sequel will be just as satisfying.