Patrick Wolf - Accident & Emergency

Will Swanson 23/10/2006

Rating: 4/5

For those who consider The Libertine, from last year's beguiling full-length, Wind In The Wires, as being Wolf's current high water mark, this latest offering could potentially be viewed as something of a disappointment.

Certainly the esoteric, wordy romanticism of Yeats meeting 21st century electronica that characterised Wind has been diluted and Accident does give the distinct impression of an artist keen to break out of the realm of cult oddity and find a way into the hearts and minds of the masses. However, on this occasion Wolf manages to achieve a more radio-friendly version of himself but without really compromising his more experimental leanings. Sure, the beats and bleeps are more conservatively structured and Wolf's lyrical approach is relatively straightforward. There is an immediacy to the melody that will undoubtedly attract the new or casual listener. But the lyrical delivery and distinctive intonation is undeniably Wolf at his best and the strange, other-world-ness that characterises Wolf's work remains reassuredly intact.

Accident might well be the song that allows Wolf to lift himself out of the pack. If he does so, it will have been achieved absolutely on his own terms, a rare occurrence that I, for one, hope is successful.