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Patrick Wolf | Wind in the Wires (Tomlab)
Patrick Wolf is young, startlingly so, and he's already released his second album. But whether this should automatically grant an artist unlimited endeavour is the main question raised by 'Wind In The Wires'. For it starts like the opening of a Eurovision song contest, The Libertine matches a Bright Eyes melody with European folk strings and euro beat drums, it's a pleasingly unfashionable amalgamation, but it lacks the detonation to appear as anything other than the sum of its somewhat laughable building blocks.

This could be said to be the overriding trend of the album. There are plenty of good ideas, and off-kilter aspects are removed from a plethora of less obvious musical genres, but their effective 'splotching' together means the joins aren't always clean, the results underwhelming and patchy.
His voice is impressive and filled with theatre; as Feignmouth matches Aphex Twin electronics with a rousing sense of Gothic Opera, the darker moments bubble with a genuine menace whilst still maintaining a strong sense of pop playfulness. At these points his Playdoh musical constructions are beautiful, comparable to Soft Cell or Frankie Goes to Hollywood at their strongest [yikes! -Ed].

Yet The Shadowsea shows the other end of his talents. Drudging drumbeats and overindulgent lyrics sound like a Muse album being played too slowly. There's no panache or spark, whereas further electronic doodles merely clutter the sound unnecessarily.
This is a confusing release, filled with moments of talent and an obvious hunger for achievement. Perhaps with time these volatile elements will find an equilibrium that will be truly staggering.

Jonathan Falcone
February-April 2005