""This is the greatest peace I’ve ever known”, belted out a blissful Patrick Wolf from under his mop of shiny russet hair on ‘House’, the towering pop pièce de résistance on the Londoner’s epically loved-up fifth album. He made it pretty hard not to believe him, too, as he sandwiched cartwheeling romance with a defiant lyrical honesty that made the slushy moments on ‘Lupercalia’ sweet rather than sickly. The Manhattan jazz bar sax on ‘The City’ couldn’t dampen 
the melodramatic splendour that seeped through the album, with the baroque ‘Slow Motion’ and demon disco of ‘Together’ providing an ever-so-slightly avant-garde foil to more straight-up pop moments like the triumphant ‘Bermondsey Street’, in which Lloyd Cole met the Pet Shop Boys on a south-of-the-river road. Nothing less than gorgeous. LC

NME: What are you proudest of with this album?
“I’m proud of all the weddings that my songs have been part of. I’ve never had that with another album. There have been a few engagements at my shows – it’s become a reality, the idea of a festival of love. I actually played at someone’s wedding, while they were signing the registry. It’s not cheesy though, it has hit a balance with civil partnerships in America. While pop music gets aggressively sexual, I wanted to do romance. And a lot of gay couples, and lesbian couples, and straight couples – all genders and sexualities – have taken the album under their wing, which was cool.”

Why do you think the album struck such a chord with people this year?
“I think that a lot of the songs are about coming out of a sad time in your life. And there’s ‘The City’, which is about the economy. I think that in festival situations people were enjoying my music because it was an escape. It struck a chord, maybe, with the good British keeping-your-chin-up attitude.”

What was the trickiest song to get right?
“Probably ‘Slow Motion’. There’s this Arabic scale, and all the beats are made out of two people really close to me snoring – and there’s lots of elements that people aren’t used to mixing or working with.”


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