Who would not wish Patrick Wolf well? Eloquent and eccentric, as well as talented, he is one of the most important British solo artists around. It would be great if ‘Lupercalia’ propels him into the line of sight of people so far unaware of his grandiose, deeply touching brand of pop. But if that doesn’t happen, don’t say we didn’t warn you. Apart from lacking the dark intensity of ‘Wind in the Wires’ and the fragmented beauty of ‘The Bachelor’, there are few genuine hits here. Wolf sounds content and settled rather than haunted and hungry, and only on the barnstorming, autotune-tastic opener ‘The City’ and ‘Together’ – a pumping homage to The Cure about drunkenly calling someone from a Berlin rooftop – do we get Wolf’s sense of optimism and fatalism, respectively.  It’s always good to hear new Patrick Wolf songs, though, and there are no downright stinkers on here.

By Matthias Scherer

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