Friday, 1 July 2011

Patrick Wolf - Lupercalia

Patrick Wolf has succeeded in a rare feat, producing on his new album Lupercalia two songs that I'll listen to for the rest of my life.

Since its single release earlier in the year, The City has been an essential component in my weekend preparations, at once an upbeat anthem and an emotional appeal.

Now I have Armistice to carry me through my contemplative times - a genuinely astonishing, subtle yet soaring anthem for anyone who ever felt alone.

Lupercalia - Patrick Wolf

Regular readers will already know what I think of The City, so this time around I'm giving Armistice - the true high point of Lupercalia - the attention it deserves.

From its sustained, instrumental-yet-wailing introduction, to the first few faster piano notes, Armistice plunges the listener into another world - one we've all felt at some time or other.

This is a track for anyone who's ever been apart from a loved one, or afraid while alone in the dark. Its lyrics are far from complex, but their simplicity carries an innocence that underlines the honesty of the emotions portrayed here.

Imagery is stark - knife-wielding children out in the city, fighting foxes out there somewhere in the dark. But there's comfort, too - "if you'll be weak, then I'll be strong" - suggesting that, even while apart, we can share this world with one another and still 'be there' when we are needed.

The only unfortunate thing about Armistice is that it aligns most closely with the night, yet begs, aches to be turned up loud and envelop the listener. Sorry, neighbours.

Like I said above, this song will be one I return to over and over - during my highs and my lows - for the rest of my days. I'm certain of it. This has been an astonishing, anthemic year for music, and it's only half over.

Please - I implore you - buy this one track, even if not the entire album.
Armistice - Lupercalia
You can see a live performance of Armistice over at the Guardian website.

The Verdict

A few weeks ago, POPSICULTURE co-conspirator Dan suggested that, since I love The City so very much, it was likely I wouldn't enjoy Lupercalia so much - the bar had been set too high.

The truly, truly astounding thing about Lupercalia is that I love almost every track. These are some of the best songs I have heard in a long time - even the 'low points' are on a par with the best most artists have to offer.

Patrick Wolf, your place as a top-40 recording artist is not only deserved, it seems still too little. Here's to riotous success for the future.

Final Score: 96%
Lupercalia - Patrick Wolf

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