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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Review Tue Oct 09 2007

Review: Patrick Wolf, The Magic Position


Writing a review of Patrick Wolf is an infuriating task -- his music is endearingly fucked up, but pretentiously enough you don't know if you want to recommend his work or punch him the face. Previous efforts, like 2005's Wind in the Wires, hinted at greatness, but contained failures so spectacular they're almost good -- like "Tristan," which I still find myself listening to in the faint hope that I won't want to strangle the nearest person with eye makeup on when Wolf sings the ridiculous chorus hook.

On this year's The Magic Position, however, Wolf seems to have abandoned the angsty emo darkness that was his stock-in-trade and put out a pretty happy 13-track record. This isn't an opaque transition, by any means -- the title track contains the lyric "It's you who puts me in the magic position [to do a number of trite things] in a major key." So apparently dude's getting some. Good for him, and good for us, because the results of Patrick Wolf getting his dingle played with are eminently listenable. Tracks like "Accident and Emergency" and "(Let's Go) Get Lost" are dangerously cute at times, with twee Nintendo synths and sound effects layered over some funtime drum machines, and mopey numbers like "Augustine" retain the overindulgent art-school charm that made those old records interesting without inspiring guyliner-related homicide.

The transition in subject matter didn't affect Wolf's stylistic tendencies -- he still over-pronounces every word with an annoyingly affected rasp (yes, we know, you smoke and drink! You bad boy.) and his lyrics are the kind of stuff that would go over really well in a Morrissey fan club meeting, but it's much more charming this time around, for some reason -- like you have a little brother who just went Goth or something. You know it's dumb, but fucked if you don't have a pair of ten-year-old knee-high boots and a black trench in the closet yourself -- so who are you to judge? The Magic Position is full of similar potential, a uniquely accessible effort wrapped up in the tropes of previous identities. Who knows, maybe next time we'll get skater punk.

Patrick Wolf plays tonight at The Metro with Bishi. Doors at 6, show at 630. $15, all-ages

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

Read this feature »


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