Patrick Wolf
Sundark and Riverlight


4.0
excellent

Review

by Eli EMERITUS
October 5th, 2012 | 27 replies | 12,860 views


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Patrick Wolf the artist, first and foremost, laid bare for all to hear.

I thought It was time after a decade to take a moment to document what these songs have grown up to be while I’ve been travelling them around the world. There was a conscious rebellion on this album against the digital age of auto-tune and mass produced electronic landfill music. I want to present at my 10 year anniversary a musical biography.

In many ways, it’s difficult to imagine Patrick Wolf stripping anything down, in any sense. After all, the English-Irish “pop star” has made a career with his flair for the extravagant, both with his music and appearance. He carefully adds dramatic and flamboyant layers to his image and sound, as with each he furthers the idea and image of who Patrick Wolf is, despite the fact that it may not be entirely genuine. With his latest album, Wolf has decided to set the record straight and cast all things aside. Sundark and Riverlight is first and foremost Patrick Wolf the artist and musician, and it’s everything one could have asked for.

Sundark and Riverlightis the most intimate record of Wolf’s career, and a celebration of his 10 years as a recording artist. To mark the occasion, he decided to revisit certain selections from his discography, all with his current mindset. From years of touring and keeping these songs close, things have changed, both for Wolf and these pieces. The double album is split into two halves: Sundark and Riverlight. The first portion is the darker, more melancholy works that were prevalent during the artists’ earlier, lonelier albums. Countering this is Riverlight, the more upbeat album that marks Wolf’s transition into the more content man who had fallen in love. Both represent the singer-songwriter in two very different-albeit genuine-lights.

One’s initial response to an album such as this may be either general indifference or complete aversion. And truly, it’s quite understandable. When musicians pull the “acoustic re-recordings of old material” it’s generally a half-assed affair, but it isn’t in Patrick Wolf’s nature to half-ass anything. With Sundark and Riverlight the artist approaches each song with a mindset of creation, rather than slapping on a new coat of paint. Many of these songs are fundamentally and structurally altered, and in a surprising turn, most are done so for the better. Who knew how much “The Magic Position” dragged until Wolf reevaluated it? Here, the strings are brought to the forefront and the pace is given a much needed boost, all adding up to a song that actually improves on an already great tune. The same can be said of “House,” which ditches some of the odd electronic flourishes that never really seemed to fit. Although “Wind in the Wires” regretfully does not feature the dual vocals that made the original so incredible, the overall “hollow” feeling that permeates it makes it much more beautiful and lonesome.

Patrick Wolf isn’t usually accredited as being a musician who places artistic integrity above all else, as the tag “pop-star” is haphazardly thrown around all too often. However, on Sundark and Riverlight one feels and hears the musician for who he truly is. With much of the studio magic taken out of the equation, Wolf has never been stronger. Vocally, he impresses at every turn with his warm tone, great range, and excellent control. His powerful voice is all the more welcome thanks to this new stripped down feeling, as it sounds gorgeous next to the emphasized strings and keys.

Who knows what the next 10 years have in store for the bombastic musician? Wolf makes his life-and the emotional fallouts contained within-the paint on the canvas. Love and heartbreak are constant companions in his life, driving much of what we hear and feel through his music. Sundark and Riverlight is a reminder of this, as well as time for transition. The album excels, featuring some of the artist’s finest work, despite being mostly retreaded material. Do not let this be a deterrent, though, for there is something here for the devoted members of his “Wolf Pack” as well as his fiercest detractors.



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user ratings (15)
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Xenophanes
Emeritus
October 5th 2012



10593 Comments


This is a lot better than one may think because I know a lot of people--myself included--don't dig the acoustic re-recording thing. This is a really awesome record though.

ThroneOfAgony
October 5th 2012



3485 Comments


cool

Xenophanes
Emeritus
October 5th 2012



10593 Comments


it is

Brostep
Staff Reviewer
October 5th 2012



3449 Comments


WOO ACOUSTIC WANKERY

nice review Eli, may check this one out as it looks excellent

TMobotron
Contributing Reviewer
October 5th 2012



7103 Comments


Sweet I had no idea about this, I bet it rules.

Apollo
October 5th 2012



10302 Comments


Hate the singer and FOB

might give this a spin out of curiousity

Rail
October 5th 2012



514 Comments


^^ That's Patrick Stump, I think.


I really enjoyed Lupercalia, so I'll get to this eventually. It's all acoustic, yeah?



Digging: Phaeleh - A World Without

RosaParks
October 5th 2012



14886 Comments


i need to hear this i love patrick wolf so much

Gyromania
October 6th 2012



15655 Comments


slow clap for Apollo.

Good review Eli

Lakes.
October 6th 2012



27591 Comments


i need to hear this i love patrick wolf so much [2]

Digging: Arthur Russell - World of Echo

Motiv3
October 7th 2012



8931 Comments


"Hate the singer and FOB

might give this a spin out of curiousity"

Different person, that is Patrick Stump..

Digging: Punch - They Don?t Have To Believe

Cygnatti
October 7th 2012



21352 Comments


"Hate the singer and FOB might give this a spin out of curiousity"

hehehe

Digging: Jon Hopkins - Immunity

jenna1234
October 7th 2012



1 Comments


Patrick wolf- sundark and riverlight


Xenophanes
Emeritus
October 7th 2012



10593 Comments


great first comment

paxman
October 7th 2012



4084 Comments


Lol Apollo what a turd

Xenophanes
Emeritus
October 9th 2012



10593 Comments


I've got the new Converge, Godspeed, Neurosis, Coheed, and Enslaved, but I just keep coming back to this.

klap
Staff Reviewer
October 9th 2012



10402 Comments


slow clap for Apollo. [2]

Digging: Literature - Chorus

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
October 9th 2012



23814 Comments


[3] you ignant

Steoandnoodles
October 9th 2012



2832 Comments


I liked his last album. Might give this a spin too. =)

Lakes.
October 9th 2012



27591 Comments


(^ー^)ノ



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