You have to admit: seeing a tall skinny kid clad in tight red pants, matching shirt, riding a carousel animal and having a hipster haircut on the cover of a record leads you to believe you're either going to being listening to a bad David Bowie cover or possibly the second coming of your worst carnival experience relived. Thus, I was pleasantly surprised to overcome judging the CD by its cover and giving Patrick Wolf's The Magic Position a thorough listen. Part glam, part opera, and all class, I can imagine Wolf strutting on stage a la Velvet Goldmine proportions just as much as I could see him on a cushioned bar stool crooning in a play house.
The Magic Position opens with "Overture" and ends with "Finale," a very grandiose and possibly even ambitious idea of playing off a theatre production; but for what Wolf is doing, it works its magic. "Overture" is filled with all the reasons you love Sigur Ros (I am a sucker for brass so hard) and flows into the title track - I feel like I'm either at a Renaissance Fair, or being flipped upside down on a carnival ride, and I also kind of want to eat a lot of cotton candy and go to a bounce house. Wolf's catchy beats and cute voice make the vaudevillian theme capable of not being annoying.
Standouts on Position include woozy "Augustine," an intimate showcase showing Wolf's vocal range that weirdly reminds me of if Carl Barat decided to get into opera, and "Secret Garden," a fantastic, weird concoction of dreamy layers of mumbled voices and soft acoustic, but then later turns into an indie pop, industrial tune on acid.
Man. I can totally play this record to dance in my underwear singing to myself and my hairbrush, or for friends and a classy dinner. Patrick, you are my current hero.
By Jenn Hernandez
"Accident & Emergency"