This isn’t ‘selling out’ or deliberately making a more radio-friendly album –...
Simon Fernand 2007
23 year-old Patrick Wolf carved quite a niche for himself with his first two albums (2003's Lycanthropy and 2005's Wind In The Wires), his unique sound influenced by practically everything from Atari Teenage Riot to Gustav Mahler (via folk music and everything else in between). With The Magic Position Wolf releases his major label debut, and enters the notoriously 'difficult' territory of the third album. So how does he fare?
Well, from the very first listen it becomes apparent that Wolf is having a ball. Whilst it would be grossly unfair to dismiss this as his 'pop' album - there are several moments of glorious, foot-stomping, handclapping, shameless pop music. That's not to say that there aren't several brooding, dark orchestral moments ('‘Finale'’), or mad, Aphex Twin-style interludes (''The Secret Garden'') but overall the mood of the album is one of joy.
The Magic Position sounds like Wolf is constantly evolving and improving as both a writer and a producer (yes, he produced this album, too – is there anything this boy can’t do?!). ‘'Augustine'’ twinkles with romantic piano and serenades with gentle strings; ‘'Get Lost'’ sounds like The Cure’s Robert Smith singing a camp love song, backed by swells of brass and bubbling synths; and ‘Bluebells’ ingeniously incorporates the sound of fireworks alongside tribal drums and a kantale.
Yes, it’s more polished than his previous albums, and it’s true – it is poppier than them, but so what? Wolf may be young, but he’s clearly not naïve. The fact that this album had to be mastered three times before he was happy with it shows that this is how it’s supposed to sound. This isn’t ‘selling out’ or deliberately making a more radio-friendly album – it’s Wolf’s vision; and you know what? It’s magnificent!