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Patrick Wolf - 'Time Of My Life'

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Fraser McAlpine | 10:21 UK time, Saturday, 4 December 2010

Patrick Wolf

I wasn't supposed to be writing about this. There are singles out next week by more notable chart starts with proper pedigrees and stuff; Paolo Nutini, for example, or Plan B. Hell, the Manic Street Preachers have even joined forces with Ian McCulloch from Echo and the Bunnymen (ask your dad), so that's like a dadrock BOGOF right there.

And it's not like songs which share common wordal territory with the theme song to Dirty Dancing have been a big hit in my house recently either. Poor old Wolfy has a big job ahead of him if he's to leapfrog over that lot and secure the all-important ChartBlog seal of approval.

It's a real seal too, with flippers and a honky-horn and everything.

(Here's the video. It does exactly what it says on the screen.)

Luckily, he's more than managed it. And while it is no achievement at all to write a better song than its Black Eyed Peas namesake - the seal of approval has just written two and, he's only got the one instrument - 'Time of My Life' also manages to play the other chart veterans at their own, mature game, and win.

In the past, young Patrick has suffered a little from an excess of personality in his musical endeavours. Writing a whole album on violin and baritone ukulele while strolling around the cliffs of Cornwall, for example. Or making an unabashed day-glo camp pop glitterball of an album and having to watch, downcast, as Mika swanned off to global fame doing much the same thing (only less well).

But this is not that Patrick Wolf. This Patrick Wolf has a determined set to his jaw, and hard-won wisdom in his eye. His new music is sleek and muscular, romantic and passionate. It's as immaculately arranged as always - dramatic handclaps here, swooshing strings overhead, gently strummed uke behind - but with all of his guns facing in the same direction for once.

Recommended to anyone who has exhausted the pleasures of the Hurts album already, and seal-owners everywhere.

Four stars Download: December 6th

patrickwolf.com
BBC Music page

(Fraser McAlpine)

Sputnik Music says: "I am incredibly happy because I love him more than words can express"

Pretty Much Amazing says: "Over wide-open violin, Wolf declares "Happy without you" like he doesn't entirely believe it, but has to."

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