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CD Review: 'The Bachelor' by Patrick Wolf

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Friday, June 19, 2009

PATRICK WOLF

"The Bachelor"

Kindred spirits: David Bowie, Depeche Mode

Show: Wednesday with Living Things, Plasticines and Jaguar Love at the Rock and Roll Hotel. Show starts at 7:30 p.m. 202-388-7625. http://www.rockandrollhoteldc.com.

Equally brooding and flamboyant, Patrick Wolf paints a layered picture on his fourth album, "The Bachelor." This is not your typical singer-songwriter fare; rather, Wolf flits from techno to folk (and everywhere in between), always with a flare for the bold and dramatic. These songs often feel more suited to a theater stage than a rock club.

On the string-enhanced "Damaris," Wolf's theatrical voice recalls David Bowie's; his leading a chorus in singing "Rise up, rise up!" conjures images of a pastor directing his congregation on Easter morning. Similarly, the bold, repetitious lyrics of the title track come across like a playground chant: "I'm not gonna marry in the fall/And I'm not gonna marry in the spring/And I will never marry, marry at all."

Most amazingly, all the sonic shifts in "The Bachelor" don't sound disjointed; rather, it just sounds as though Wolf has too many ideas to be contained in one album. Even his jump from the sputtering, techno-disco number "Vulture" straight into the crooning piano ballad "Blackdown" feels like the calm after a sonic storm.

-- Catherine P. Lewis


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