When I first saw the album release calender for 2009, I have to say I got really excited. Most of the bands I love will be releasing, or have released new albums this year. Some have been fantastic and have lived up to my expectations (i.e. Middle Cyclone – Neko Case). Others decided to re-invent their sound, cause concern with the pre-release hype, and then turn out an album that has actually been a pleasant surprise (i.e. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – It’s Blitz!). Then there are situations like the one I am about to present to you.

Patrick Wolf first crossed my radar with his incredibly catchy single Tristan. Shortly afterwards, his third album, “The Magic Position,” quickly became one of my top albums of 2007/early 2008. His live show cemented him a place in my artists to follow list. I have been heavily anticipating his new disc, and when I discovered a stream for his new single “Vultures,” I expected to have yet another track to add to my current play list. My reaction may have been slightly pre-mature.

Don’t get me wrong, “Vultures” is not a bad song, it just isn’t as instantly catchy as the material I have come to expect from this artist. One thing I have always enjoyed about Patrick Wolf’s music is the combination of technology and electronica mashed together with traditional and almost clasical instrumentation. The instruments have been all but abandoned in favor of a more straight forward techno approach. The song feels far more like a remix then an album track. I will say that I do enjoy the overall “feel” of the single, but it does seem like it may be more at home on an album by an artist like, say, Depeche Mode.

Another cause for concern are the pre-release photo’s that have been accompanying the press over this album. While Patrick Wolf’s appearance and image has always been extravagant and very “glam,” this new look is a little bizarre. First there were the photos that leaked from his recent live performance in London, which featured him rocking a “Lord of the rings/Legalos” inspired weave. Then accompanying the single stream this morning was a photograph of the artist sprawled on his side donning a very Rocky Horror Picture-esque leather cod peace/garter ensemble. The album has been said to posses a darker feel then his previous efforts, and maybe this is soley his interpretation of that. We will have to see.

I know that given the final result regarding my recent concern over the new Yeah Yeah Yeahs album, I should know better then to worry about a disc solely based on hype alone, but there is one major key difference to consider: the lead single. While “Zero” may be a sonic departure for the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, it was still instantly catchy and, at the end of the day, a very solid track. After playing the new Patrick track more than a few times, I just can’t say the same. This is also an artist who has released three drastically different discs, all of which have found a home on my ipod. I suppose I will have to wait for the album before deciding my final verdict.

Presented below is the single in question: “Vultures” by Patrick Wolf. The album will be released early summer 2009. If nothing else, at least the accompanying fan-made video is enjoyable to watch.

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