The Bachelor by Patrick Wolf

Excess and creativity form the “child prodigy” of UK alt-pop
patrick After the electro-folk hypnosis of Lycanthropy, the warm autumn atmosphere of Wind in the Wires, and the shiny pop of The Magic Position, the new chapter in the production of the UK author presents a work less coherent in terms of atmosphere, but definitely more intense, crafted and mature which is going to establish Wolf as one of the most versatile and talented song writer in the alternative pop scenario. Recensione in italiano In this last record we can found the unmistakable features which Patrick got us used to: extensive use of violin and electronic, sudden and spacious melodic overtures with the addition of more frequent choral and orchestral parts. All this is put together with a layered, thoughtful but never too aggressive production. All the pleasant mood swings of Lycanthropy are still there: the industrial electronic loops surrounded by classic violins (Count of Casualty, Vulture) tracks that recall cross-over (Battle) and  gospel-like  atmosphere (Who will?) together with songs like Damaris and The Sun is Often Out which recall the typical Wind in the Wires melodies, while the title track The Bachelor surprises us as an unusual folk-rock ballad. The record is somehow bipolar: one half pictures dark scenes where the battle (the main theme of The Bachelor) is hopeless while the other half tells about “Battle for love), the mood is brighter and the melodies are sweeter. It’s interesting to note that this “gap” has been caused, as the same author reports in an interview on the bandstock site - used to fund the production of The Bachelor with a business model where fans directly act as shareholders - by the happening of a sudden love story while he was working on the record. In the end the evaluation of The Bachelor is positive: is a very rich record, sometimes maybe way too diverse, but able to synthesize the musical footprint of Wolf who should be forgiven for his “arrogance of youth” pushing him towards some extravagance and histrionic excess (in particular in his live performance and in some of his lyrics). Looking forward to see him again on stage I wonder how Patrick will show this new  and complex musical adventure. I have seen him play on his previous tours (Bologna 2005, London 2006, Vancouver 2008) and he has always tailored his show and the bad line-up according to the mood of his most recent record, reshaping accordingly the arrangements of old songs. This versatility allows Patrick Wolf to always put together unique and powerful performances where his incredible ability in playing several instruments and his capability of being on stage  are the biggest highlights. Eccessi e creativtia’ dell’enfant prodige del pop alternativo d’oltremanica Dopo le ipnosi folk-elettriche di Lycanthropy, le atmosfere autunnali e avvolgenti di Wind in the Wires, e il luccicante pop di The Magic Position, il nuovo capitolo dell'enfant prodige d'oltremanica ci presenta un lavoro forse meno uniforme dal punto di vista d'atmosfera rispetto ai suoi dischi precedenti ma sicuramente piu’ intenso, curato e maturo che consacra definitivamene Wolf come poliedrico autore di talento. Anche in questo ultimo lavoro emergono i tratti inconfondibili a cui Patrick ci ha ormai abituato: largo uso di violino e di elettronica, impreviste e ariose aperture melodiche, a cui pero' in The Bachelor si aggiunge l'incursione piu' pronunciata di epsiodi orchestrali e corali il tutto confezionato con produzione molto attenta e stratificata ma mai troppo ingombrante. Restano anche i piacevoli sbalzi di umore musicale che caratterizzavano Lycanthropy: dai sottofondi di elettronica industriale contronata dai classici violini (Count of Casualty, Vulture), a brani che strizzano l’occhio al cross-over (Battle) e ad atmosfere quasi gospel (Who will?), passando per brani come Damaris e The Sun is Often Out che ci riportano alle melodie tipiche di Wind in the Wires, mentre la title track The Bachelor con sorpresa ci offre una ballata folk-rock di grande presa.
Il disco e’ sostanzialmente bipolare: nella prima meta’ si dipingono scenari cupi, dove la battaglia (che e’ il tema portante di The Bachelor) e’ senza speranza, mentre nella seconda parte di parla di “battle for love” (battaglie d’amore) e i toni si rischiarano cosi’ come le melodie si addolcisono.  E’ interessante notare che questo “salto” e’ stato provocato, come riporta l’autore stesso in un’intervista pubblicata su bandstock - sito utilizzato per finanziare la produzione di The Bachelor con un modello di business in cui i fans partecipano direttamente come “azionisti”- dall’irrompere di un amore improvviso nel bel mezzo della lavorazione del disco. In conclusione il giudizio su The Bachelor e’ positivo: un disco molto ricco, a tratti forse eccessivamente variegato, ma che sintetizza bene l’impronta musicale di Wolf, a cui ben volentieri perdoniamo “l’arroganza della gioventu’” che lo spinge verso stravaganze e eccessi istrionici (in particolare nelle sue performance live e nell’uso dei testi - anche se in queto lavoro siamo lontani dalle provocazioni di Lycanthropy). In attesa di vederlo prosimamente calcare ancora il palco ci chiediamo come Patrick mettera' in scena questa sua nuova e complesa avventura musicale. Abbiamo avuto l'occasione di vederlo suonare nei tour precedenti (Bologna 2005, Londra 2006, Vancouver 2008) e Wolf ha sempre modellato i suoi shows e la line-up della band rispecchiando il mood del lavoro piu’ recente reimpastando magistralmente gli  arrangiamenti dei vecchi brani di consegueza.

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