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Lupercalia CD

4.6 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (20 Jun. 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Mercury
  • ASIN: B004O0TKXU
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 27,794 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Product Description

BBC Review

Patrick Wolf rarely gives the impression of someone who creates music in a carefree fashion. At times the phrase "tortured artist" seems so crushingly apt that it's almost caricature. Lupercalia was originally meant to be the second part of a double-album, entitled Battle. The first part, The Bachelor, arrived in 2009 bearing the marks of its difficult gestation too heavily. Recorded after bouts of depression and exhaustion, it's an album that's hard to love, flitting between aggressive electronica and folk paeans.

Towards the end of its creation, Wolf said he felt his confidence return and that this creative rejuvenation, coupled with falling in love, lead him to Lupercalia, named after a pre-Roman festival of purification. Its title is completely apt, with nearly all its songs focusing on the healing power of love and the happiness that comes from it. The City sets the tone, all galloping drum beats, handclaps and a chorus that chimes "won't let this city destroy our love". Even a sax solo can't dampen the exuberance. House depicts delicious domesticity over strident strings. It should be cloying – "I love the curling of your hair / Gives me the greatest peace I've ever known" – but the sheer force of good will is so strong that you can't help being swept along. Closer The Falcons bounds about like an over-excited puppy, Wolf practically shouting "things are looking up for us" at the top of his lungs.

Wolf has recently denied suggestions that Lupercalia is his attempt at breaking a mainstream that's been resolutely sceptical thus far. Perhaps burned by the reaction to his last major label effort, 2007’s The Magic Position, he's been quick to deny any kind of 'dumbing down'. This isn't an album to convert the sceptics, with his distinctively dramatic and richly honeyed voice front and centre. The slower songs are typical Wolf, with Armistice a re-working of an old Manx Gaelic folk song and featuring the duduk – an Armenian wind instrument – and something called a Cristal Bachet. He's still wonderfully pretentious, but that pretentiousness has been harnessed into songs as opposed to wilful experimentation.

Over the space of five albums, Wolf has confirmed himself as one of the UK's genuinely interesting pop stars. Lupercalia manages to walk the fine line between upbeat and irritating, between unabashed happiness and over-sentimentality. The fabric of the songs seems imbued with joy, and it's testament to the quality of the songwriting that you don't feel alienated by what are incredibly personal lyrics. It's an all-inclusive love in, basically, and all the better for it.

--Michael Cragg

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
This album is unrelentingly cheerful. Which makes me go *finally* because Wolf has always been a master at the anthemic and uplifting. Even when the lyrics themselves aren't the most cheerful there's something soaring about his arrangements that make me happy. If I had one complaint about Wolf, then it's his tendency to pack anything and everything into an album. The Magic Position and The Bachelor both suffered for this. Sure, they had some cracking songs, and Overture from The Magic Position remains a favourite of mine, but there were also, in my opinion, some monumentally guff songs included.

There's no denying that he's musically and lyrically very clever but over the past two albums I've felt that he's needed to strip it back and tone it down a bit. And he has, wonderfully. Up to this point, my favourite album has been Wind in the Wires, a fabulous mix of traditional folk and the experimental stuff that I come to associate with Wolf. That album is by no means perfect either but I love it none the less.

Lupercalia is a different beast entirely when compared to his other releases. For one, it's positive lyrically on almost every track (he kisses him on Bermondsey Street and, standing brave on the balls of his feet, declares this the greatest love of the century), probably due to the fact he's engaged to be married to his partner (who gets a song named after him).
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By The Wolf TOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 20 Jun. 2011
Format: Audio CD
Patrick Wolf is in LOVE and he wants the whole wide wonky world to know!
We should be happy for him. 'Lupercalia' finds him sounding far cheerier than
he has ever seemed before. The album is overflowing with warm positivity
and vibrant, tip-top, merry-go-round enthusiasm. Love can do that to you!

No longer 'The Batchelor' of 2009, these eleven wonderful songs prove what
we had really known all along. Mr Wolf is one of the country's very finest
songwriters. Listen to the glorious 'House' if any further proof were needed.
The melody, the arrangement, the harmonies, the words and that stunningly
rich baritone voice coalesce together into one juicily transcendent whole!
(By now it is probable that you will have noticed that I like this album!)

The romance continues unabated on 'Bermondsey Street'; a proudly defiant
anthem; a forceful challenge to blind prejudice and hatred. Bravo Mr Wolf!

The energy and the quality don't let up for a moment. The eighties sonic
elements and folksy threads which have always defined the best of his work
are still here but more subtely and gently integrated into a coherent entity.
Coming in at a little under three minutes 'The Future' is yet another powerful
manifestation of a creative imagination firing on all six cylinders.
Play it loud and you will feel the floor tilt under your feet!

Crikey! It's hard to pick a favorite amongst such fine fare but if I had to
reach for one then it would have to be 'Together'. It's a big, big song, full
of passion, sung from the heart with both spirit and that wonderfully controlled
vibrato fully engaged. Mr Wolf is as fine a producer as he is a performer.
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Format: Audio CD
There is only one word for this, and that is joy. The artist is obviously very happy at the moment and his joy explodes from the opening of the first track 'The City' and barely lets up until the close of the album. This is Patrick's most straight forward album but certainly not dumbed down. The City and House should almost certainly become modern classics.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I have no past history of listening to Wolf, and found The City bing played on Radio 2 initially irritating but....then it grew on me. The follow up single "House" had a similar effect - and both have videos that justify logging into youtube. This is an album of beautifully written, and often beautifully cliche ridden, songs - both the anthemic and the balladic, wonderfully sung, and just a little bit old fashioned - but from an era that never really actually existed, or maybe will exist in the future. I am struck by how a lot of modern artists have "extreme" images but ultimately their music is dull and middle of the road (GaGa is a classic example of this); well, Wolf's image is coherent from the vids to the fashions to the lyrics to the music - and that makes it pop with depth and maturity and a certain level of confidence in it's vulnerability = this is music that "Gets inside you". A particular strong point is that it actually hangs together as a complete album with proper songs, each of them given the same level of attention - like records used to in the good old days - but I guess that may turn off the ipod generation, and I am sure the sales so far are way short of what they deserve to be. Strongest songs for me - House, Falcon. The first 5 star album, for me, since Stephen lindsay's "Kite", and that was years ago.
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