Patrick Wolf: Sundark and Riverlight – review

(Bloody Chamber/Essential)

Sundark and Riverlight is a commemorative double album released to mark Patrick Wolf's 10-year musical anniversary. It's a collection of reworked versions of his much-adored songs, and his first entirely acoustic effort. All of which rings the alarm – Wolf is known for his bombast, his dramatic flourishes, and many of these are machine-made. Stripping them back and having another go risks taking off too many layers, including the magic. Thankfully, this isn't Wolf thumbing his nose at his past. The all-new Together employs Spanish guitar and strings in place of the original's 80s electro pulse, and shines a new light on its mood, making it celebratory where it once felt mournful. Elsewhere, the revisions temper the mood – Bermondsey Street becomes louche, while Bluebells is given new maturity. It's hard to shake the feeling, though, that it's all a bit self-indulgent. These rewrites, though confident, are as much a curiosity as anything else, more an exercise in shape and form than an improvement.


Rebecca Nicholson

The GuardianTramp

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