Patrick Wolf / Sundark And Riverlight
It's all politics and acoustic guitars in Mr Wolf's split LP
Sundark And Riverlight
It is all so awe-inspiring when you realise it has been ten years since Patrick Wolf first released music under the Wolf pseudonym. ‘Sundark and Riverlight’ marks his musical anniversary perfectly, with 16 selected songs re-recorded acoustically.
The whole ‘Sundark and Riverlight’ concept is perfectly even - the album itself is in fact a double-album and each half has 8 songs. ‘Sundark’, as its name suggests, features songs with darker subject matters whilst its counterpart ‘Riverlight’ is quite the opposite.
‘Wind In The Wires’ opens the album beautifully with a mix of strings and harp playing. A nice surprise is ‘Bitten’, which is featured on Wolf’s ‘Brumalia EP’. The stripped down adaptation is equally engaging, undeterred by the complete eradication of percussion and backing vocals. Another highlight is ‘Bermondsey Street’, a combined effort between Patrick Wolf and his fans - featuring spoken words in various languages submitted by his fans spreading the message of sexual equality, as a response to Russia’s political situation.
Most of the acoustic versions do sound nice and offer listeners another interpretation of the tracks, yet songs from ‘The Bachelor’ era were quite a let down. Two of my favourites ‘Vulture’ and ‘Hard Times’ sound extremely bland and out of place without the thriving electronic bass section in the originals. The energetic and sinister feeling was also much diluted by the acoustic treatment. And those were the elements I love from ‘The Bachelor’, unfortunately all wiped out in ‘Sundark’.
Despite this, the revisits of tracks from ‘Lycanthropy’ and ‘The Magic Position’ were absolutely pleasant. Title track ‘London’ is made even more solemn and melancholy, with the bell-like riff being played in a seemingly higher octave on the piano, repeated throughout. ‘Overture’ and ‘The Magic Position’ have lost their child-like and bubbly sound, perfectly reflecting a great transition in Wolf’s sound in the ten year span.
The acoustic journey is best experienced in conjunction with one of Wolf’s acoustic shows, which I have had the pleasure to go to the London show which kicked start the whole tour. If you find yourself enjoying this project, do try and see a show when Wolf tours near your town.
UK tour dates :
6 - Lowry (Quays Theatre), Manchester
7 - The Gate, Cardiff
20 - The Sage, Gateshead
24 - Arts Centre, Warwick
25 - Cottiers, Glasgow
9 - The Ritz, Penzance
10 - St. Georges, Bristol
11 - St. Mary’s Church, Brighton