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VINE VOICEon 20 February 2007
Most musicians would have given up the day job by now if they were Patrick Wolf. He has conjured up two of the greatest records of the 21st century (Lycanthropy,Wind In The Wires), yet still receives a lack of credit and recognition from the UK and elsewhere. Despite building up an immensely loyal fanbase, he is unheard of to many, many who once they've heard him, regret not knowing of him before. But despite the situation, this guy loves his music. And his new record, "The Magic Position" shows that he's got plenty left to give those that adore him.

Possibly, in an effort to get more popularity, his direction of music has gone more, "poppy". Yet the songs on this album could still bring any human being to a standstill and make them understand how beautiful music is.

"This magical place that we've found/No one here but us and the sound"

Everything that surrounds you in every song is staggering stuff, truly jaw-dropping moments, how one man can construct 13 fascinating, bewildering, bewitching tracks is beyond many, but he does it. And he does it with such confidence and swagger. Title track, "The Magic Position" is an affair which truly suits its title, it's magical, and very, very happy. No music today is similar to this, his fusion of violins and ukulele's are bar-none perfect and are constructed flawlessly. "Overture" is a tearful opener, stunning violins are supported by the deep, darling vocals of Wolf, and it's an opener to get anyone interested. "Accident & Emergency" sums up the change in direction, some like it, some don't, but it's a joyous chant of independence, prosperity and fun.

"Wake me up when the bluebells are ringing"

Things take a more heavy-hearted route after the first single, and the supreme second single "Bluebells", with the most haunting track of the album, "Magpie". Simple piano harmonics build up into a saddening tale of sorrow, supported by the most distressing of female voices, making this story darker and more extraordinary than it already was. Creepy is not the word to describe this, let it capture you, and grab you by your neck and truly let you experience the feeling of this song, the fact that this is beauty in music, and you should keep it close to your heart, it's a song that makes the record life-changing, and on par with his first two.

"The Stars" is almost as beautiful an affair. Excluding the 2 minute closer, "Finale", it's the real closer of the album. Saddening it is, but it's as mentioned before, gloriously beautiful. "Mama, the stars are burning bright" declares Wolf in his stunningly confident stature, his talents are never more put to use. Let his music be poppy, because he does it well. Don't be stubborn about this record, let it overwhelm you, let it embrace you, because not many other records can do it as well as this one.

"When it shines/You've got to let it shine"

"Get Lost" is another gorgeous pop anthem, it's style is merry, lively and ferocious, capturing the spirit of those that want to like this record, and won't be disappointed. "Augustine" cannot be ignored either, lyrically it's a step above everything else on the record. It's more an adventure than anything, and it takes the listener on this adventure, wise and ready, Wolf beckons the words like Roald Dahl telling his stories to enchanted children. The tale is however dark and secretive. Displaying more flexibility in Wolf's songwriting.

This album isn't a personal one as much as it was on his two previous record. Maybe it's for those that have stood by him all this time, and have realized how incredibly talented he is. Or it could mean that he's in love, that he's happy. Because happiness surrounds this record, even in the saddest of songs. You still get a sense of good spirit. Some might think that it being a non-personal record could damage the whole thing. But they can let their fears rest. There aren't tales of child catchers and evil humans, it's more about the listener, and how they can be taken away into a euphoric world of satisfaction and joy. It will happen to you if you want it to.
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on 5 March 2007
I walked into a record store last week and was paralysed by the music playing. The manager of the store was enthusiastic to say the least when I enquired and raved about Patrick Wolf - The Magic Position being his 3rd album. Dumbfounded that my head had been in the sand about this rare talent for so long, I promptly purchased the cd. What a revelation!!! If you can imagine the styles and creativity of Kate Bush, Bjork and Lloyd Cole all rolled into one, then you are somewhere near Patrick Wolf. "Magpie" is the most sublime song since the Blue Nile's "Family Life". The whole cd flows like a sweet rollercoaster of emotions starting with the magnificent "Overture", the upbeat "The Magic Position" right through to the beauty of "The Stars" and "Finale". I cant fault this cd. If you want the safety of the standard indie pop everyone is bleating out at the moment, go elsewhere. If you are after an innovative, challenging and timeless adventure, Patrick Wolf is your man. He will still be around for years to come as I am sure, as I have now become, once bitten, you will be hooked for life. How long will it take for the masses to discover Britains greatest modern day singer songwriter???
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VINE VOICEon 5 January 2007
Some might say this is Patrick going POP, but it's not that simple. Piano, ukulele, violin, beats, trumpets, his astonishing voice, fireworks, Marianne Faithful, static noise and a procession of beautiful melodies and wonderfully constructed tunes. Past the screaming, dissonant adolescent identity crisis of his debut and the tortured, remote spacefolk of his (still outstanding) sophomore, we have an area of energetic calm. Patrick Wolf is the nearest thing to a new Kate Bush. That's big praise. This album has big tunes and a greater sense of musical joy to it than almost anything else you're likely to hear in 2007. Spectacular isn't the word. His only peers are Guillemots and Acoustic Ladyland. Everyone else making music in the UK right now is an emo/MOR chancer and might as well go home. Magical.
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I admit it openly -- after hearing that Patrick Wolf was going poppy, I was prepared to hate "The Magic Position." I really was.

But I can't. Instead, his third album managed to sweep me away with his colourful chamberpop, and ever-changing palette of musical sounds. In fact, he masters most varieties of pop -- bluesy, peppy, soothing strings, and even some electropop -- and weave them into some accomplished melodies.

It opens with some taut drums, and a slowly rising violin leads in a sweep of strings, guitar and electronica. Wolf croons over it, "It's wonderful what a smile can hide/If the teeth shine bright and it's nice and wide/It's so magical all you can keep inside/And if you bury it deep no one can find a thing, no..." He follows it with the xylophone-churchbell-violinpop of the title song, a bouncy love song that is so infectious and joyful, it deserves to be on the radio.

But having hooked listeners with those two songs, he sallies out into all sorts of music -- dark electropop with horns, bluesy ballads, passionate piano pop, happy robot dance music, and a strong piano-strings ballad, "Magpie," a duet with the smoky-voiced Marianne Faithfull. And the album ends as it began -- with a twinkly, joyous little song, and a bittersweet string outro.

If I had to compare Patrick Wolf in this album, it would be to call him a male version of Feist -- talented vocalist and songwriter, musically versatile, and poppy without being a slave to the MTV sound. "The Magic Position" shows that off beautifully, albeit with a few dark spots that could have been left out.

The music is one of those rare blends of fun catchiness and clever musicianship -- mostly because Wolf crams it with adept musicianship. Aside from the basic guitar, he weaves in instruments like the weeping violin, accordion, ukelele, piano, drums and harp, as well as stuff like the colorful blips from an autoharp, horns, tinkly little bells, and the kitchen sink.

The results can be lushly effusive pop, sweeping ballads, or a spare ballad woven from flickers of piano and strings. It could have used a tiny bit of trimming, though -- "Kiss" sounds like a violin tuneup, and "Secret Garden" is an awkward mishmash of various sounds. However, they're the only real weak spots on this album.

Wolf's voice is as pleasant as his music -- smooth, strong, and able to convey fun and joy as easily as yearning and love. And his songs are pretty passionate stuff, whether it's the childlike joy of seeing the stars ("Mama, I saw the stars tonight/Orion, the plow, are burning bright"), or a painful confession to a lover ("And that's why, love, you shouldn't stay/Still you will and love me...").

Patrick Wolf goes pop in "Magic Position," but doesn't sacrifice any of his talents. A few songs could have been snipped, but you can forget about those in the shadow of his lovely ballads and dancy pop tunes.
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Oh, so fabulous. Patrick wolf's third album, a much happier affair than his previous two (though even this one still has it's moments!) is full of musical glory. I certainly wasn't expecting to like it as much as I did, but even as the punchy beats and glorious strings of the first track, Overture, crashed over my head on first listening, I was sold. From Overture the album moves to the title track, probably the most joyously exuberant on the album. A wonderful happy song, full of the obvious love which bred it. I could listen to it for hours.

And the rest of the album follows pretty much in a similar brilliant vein, from the darker "Magpie" to the brooding "Augustine". Listening to The Magic Position, with its colourful carousel cover, is much like a sonic fairground: every ride is different, and has its different tone and emotions, but every one is exciting in its own particular way. Wolf is a truly wonderful musician, and this is one of the best albums of the year so far. It's hard to believe that, at 23 (ish?), indie darling Wolf has already released 3 absolutely fantastic albums. Honestly, buy this. It's different and original, but wonderful enough to appeal to a wide audience.
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I don't know how I came across this album, but I must admit that at first I kept it to myself. It was a bit of a guilty pleasure. Beautiful melodies mixed with electronic/casio/nintendo effects and emotionally charged lyrics of an adolescent in search of meaning: not quite what's on my musical shopping list.

In fact I reluctantly shared it with someone who I share music with, expecting a "what-the-heck-is-with-you-this-time", but fortunately got a reply along the lines of "interesting-stuff-you-put-up-there-this time". Phew!

The melodies and arrangements do sound like a gifted teenager: somewhat infantile and not very refined, yet adult and thoughtful. It sounds at times innocent and vulnerable, while it also shows he's been out and about quite a bit for his age. It's definitely hard to figure it out. Even to this day, sometimes I listen to it and think it's brilliant, and sometimes think it all sounds too exaggerated and crass.

Funnily I don't think I'm the only one that does not understand him. Some months ago I saw a picture in one of the London's free daily newspapers that showed Patrick's eclectic sense of style with the caption: "Patrick Wolf, a violinist". What? That's the last word I would use to describe him, yet he is indeed a violinist.

But more and more I'm inclined to think he's got absolute brilliance. When in doubt I listen to songs such as Overture, Augustine, Bluebells, Magpie, Get Lost, Enchanted, and The Stars which speak loads of his musical ability (strangely the ones I liked the least are the title song and the album's first single). It leaves way behind albums with wider critical acclaim like Antony And The Johnsons. My 5-star rating is both deserved and to encourage, a true musician such as him, to continue his journey of musical exploration.

Having said that, I still think he is a diamond in the rough. For instance, I think he needs to use a female voice more often. This will allow him to experiment musically. Perhaps in the same way he currently experiments with other sound making devices. In Get Lost you can hear a hint of where this could take him. This will allow him to use a wider range of notes and it will complement his natural `low' voice.

Also not sure if it was my version or the recording, but definitely it sounded at times rough, noisy, clanky, plus some of the special effects sounded annoying and out of place at times. There are too some odd moments in some songs which are distracting and actually detract from the song (like the "is it?" in Augustine).

From what I gather he is quite adamant to stick to his musical ideas (and I don't want to change that), but if he's able to listen to advice and surrounds himself with the right people he will certainly let the diamond be seen more consistently and by many more people. I can certainly see it. Way to go.
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on 5 April 2007
Following in the footsteps of David Sylvian, Billy MacKenzie, Marc Almond, Bjork, Scott Walker, Perry Blake, et al. - Patrick Wolf listens to the world around rather than trying to satisfy a popular taste.

The third album's wondrous melodies and richly textured arrangements plus his very personal concoction of all things radiant and full of sorrow is just impossible to render in writing.

Listening to The Magic Position is like watching a Terrence Malick movie, ie, you can be sure to always find something new and inspiring.

Young Wolf deserves far more than a mere prize nomination.

Splendid stuff.
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on 24 February 2009
i can't believe patrick wolf isnt known by many people considering hes one of the most creative musicians of our times . . .
like a male kate bush he gives us songs that drag you in and take you on an adventure and lesve you wanting more.
this is his third album after "lycanthropy" and "wind in the wires" and with his fourth album and first double disc album "battle" coming out soon i just hope he gets the recognition and success he deserves and keeps on making fantastic music :)
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on 25 August 2009
Not as good as its predecessor, 'Wind In The Wires' or Wolf's debut, 'Lycanthropy', but still well worth the money if you enjoy superbly crafted and heartfelt music from a brilliant and unique singer/songwriter.
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on 19 December 2012
The most colorful and funniest album of Patrick Wolf. Again you should buy this album cherish it love it and listen to it everyday!
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