Patrick Wolf / Sundark And Riverlight / Review

by marcopantella

Read it on Chasseur Magazine / Issue 2 / Page 8


There are much better ways than releasing a greatest hits to celebrate a ten years long career and The Wolfpack, Patrick Wolf’s fanbase,  are treated with a double album, “Sundark And Riverlight”, where the English born melancholic, electronic, and poetic songwriter reinvents acoustic versions of selected songs from the last decade producing an album that sounds like a moment of reflection and an intimate “musical biography”, as he explained, rather than a collection of singles.

The acoustic guitar has been left behind after 2003 debut album “Lycanthropy” in favor of the baritone ukelele but it this record it is played along with the piano and violins to create a stripped down dimension that sounds honest and where things are looked at from a different and more mature point of view.

The first chapter, Sundark,  displays the more solitary and darker material of Patrick. The guitar is so suggestive in “Oblivion” and the violin is exquisitely dramatic and almost medieval for “The Libertine”. It is Patrick’s inner and hidden world, a world of youth’s loneliness that has an expressive and sort of melodramatic italian-like voice as in “Vulture”. It is a sinister and folkloristic setting that ends with a ray of light in “Paris”, “I shall turn my head to the sun”.

Riverlight chapter opens with the romantic “Together” and the same set of instruments become much more melodic to convey hope and relationship’s dynamics. There is light and rejoice in “The Magic Position”, “Who is the one that leads me on through, it’s you”, and even sorrowful moments like “Teignmouth” breathe a sense of security and good omen.

The song “London”, from “Lycanthropy”, is about wanting to leave your city and travel somewhere new, “Sun dark on darker streets, it’s violent times for weary feet… Forget me, I wash myself in your grey river light”. It holds the city’s nostalgia and melancholy, the pouring rain and the sudden sunshine, and Patrick’s coming back as an explorer of his career, ready for the next ten years.