Patrick Wolf Lycanthropy

[Tomlab; 2004]

Rating: 4.5/5

Styles: electronic pop, folk, new wave, chamber pop
Others: Apostle of Hustle, The Notwist, Franz Ferdinand, Elbow, The Books

I've been milling over how to write this review for a few weeks now. That's not to imply something clichéd like, "Words cannot do this album justice," but more along the lines of, "I really just don't know where to start." Lycanthropy is one of those rare albums that simply stumps me. Maybe my brain just can't comprehend it. Actually, that was a stupid thing to say. I don't mean to convey that this is some kind of legendary album, but it is close.

Don't you just love sweeping generalizations like that? I know my English teachers would be proud. The fact is, Lycanthropy is a fantastically amazing album, the kind where you have to make up adjectives to describe how good it is. If Patrick Wolf plays his cards right and pulls off this kind of magic with his subsequent releases, then he's set to become a tour de force the indie world hasn't seen since Björk. Hooray for more statements that will make you roll your eyes.

With his debut offering, Wolf creates a near seamless blend of electronics and folk instruments, with the songs here running the gamut with the subdued guitar of "Peter Pan" to the pounding beats of "Bloodbeat." There's "The Childcatcher," a strange coming of age tale, and "Don't Say No," which is apparently about the importance of love, which I'm inclined to agree with. Accordions associate with synthesizers; recorders gossip with drum machines. At times the "folktronica" (I hate that term) sounds a bit iffy, like when the synths produce acid squelches that disagree with the rest of the song, but overall, Wolf pulls off a sound many only wish they could do. He is definitely a very gifted (and good looking, might I add) young man.

I could be totally wrong about all of this. In five years, if Patrick Wolf still isn't making great records, then feel free to track me down and laugh in my face about how I was an idiot for going out on a limb and declaring Lycanthropy as some kind of brilliant record, while everyone else was sitting back, comfortably discussing their Wilco. But of course I'm exaggerating a little. While Lycanthropy is fantastic, it's hardly the revolutionary statement that I just made it out to be. But I did mean the part about Wolf becoming a force to be reckoned with. And the part about hunting me down. Just try it.

1. Prelude
2. Wolf Song
3. Bloodbeat
4. To the Lighthouse
5. Pigeon Song
6. Don't Say No
7. The Childcatcher
8. Demolition
9. London
10. Paris
11. Peter Pan
12. A Boy Like Me
13. Lycanthropy
14. Epilogue

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