Retail Release Date: June 2, 2009 (digital only)
Leaky Faucet Acquision Date: May 3, 2009
I’ll start with the album cover. Patrick Wolf is posed here as an alien who’s landed in an oddly shaped spaceship tent, in some crazy cyberpunk outfit with a purple glow behind his hand, and some ancient instruments at his campsite. What is Patrick Wolf saying about this album before you even listen to it? He’s saying, “please don’t take me too seriously. I’m an utter goofball.”
Of course, the Leaky Faucet doesn’t see album covers when it listens to albums, so it automatically takes everyone seriously. And Patrick Wolf is a whole heck of a lot of fun to take seriously. His music is ridiculous in all the ways that I like. The kitchen sink of instruments are in here. There are a million musical styles to be found in the 14 tracks on the album, from catchy pop songs to folk-influenced romps to synthy dancy numbers to epic torch songs. I can’t believe I had no idea Patrick Wolf was so gosh darned interesting.
The album starts with a minute-long wall of dischordant sound, and then immediately launches into a song called Hard Times, which seems ripped out of the Pulp catalog. At least that’s my first impression of it; his vocal style on this song is very remniscient of the great Jarvis Cocker. Then on the song Oblivion, he seems to be channelling Oingo Boingo. Then on the song The Bachelor, he sings a duet with Eliza Carthy, whose Wikipedia entry is pretty impressive. It’s a great folk romp.
And the styles keep on coming. I feel like I should stop describing them, like they’d be spoiling a great story for you. This album is all over the place, and it’s wonderful. It even features Tilda Swinton as “The Voice of Hope.” It relaxes quite a bit in the second half of the record, but you won’t find me complaining. Patrick Wolf’s The Bachelor is highly recommended to music fans of all types, and I’m adding it to my Best of 2009 playlist.