The Lone Wolf moniker belongs to one Paul Marshall, a Leeds singer/songwriter who took on the new alter ego after realizing that the music on his haunting new album The Devil and I (July 27, Bella Union) was sonically bigger and bolder than his prior work. Where the 2007 debut Vultures -- released under his own name -- was primarily an acoustic affair, his equally moody, lyrically biting new songs had a dramatically expanded production palette. "As I was writing the record,” Marshall recalls, "I started using lots of other instruments, like Wurlitzers, pianos, drums, trumpets, and before you know it, I wanted a string quartet on it, then a choir and a really big electric guitar. It got to the point when I realised that I hadn’t written Vultures 2, hence the name change."
It's fitting that Marshall opted for a brilliant homage to the creative mind of Peter Gabriel (and the groundbreaking 1986 stop-action visuals for his big hit "Sledgehammer") for the quirky must-see video for "Keep Your Eyes on the Road" (watch after the jump). The two obviously share an affinity for intelligent, meticulously arranged art-pop, the kind of songs that find the dark underbelly of the most gorgeous of melodies. A great place to start: "This Is War", a lovely/creepy song belied by scathing lyrics of a relationship viewed through an acerbic, distorted lens ("I slaughtered her a cow and I'm a vegetarian" Marshall sings sweetly). Highly recommended.
Lone Wolf - "This Is War" (from the album The Devil and I)
Lone Wolf - "Soldiers" (from the album The Devil and I)
""The voice is velvet, the claws sharp and most tracks burst into epic kitchen-sink climaxes" - **** Uncut
"Softly sung sweetness, lustrous harmonies and dextrous guitar work" - **** Q Magazine
"a record of genuine beauty" - 8/10 This is Fake DIY
"An absolutely gorgeous first attempt from a one to watch artist" - 7/10 Clash Magazine
""so consistent that the album reaches the echelon of excellence." - ****Sputnik Music USA
"Heartbreakingly gorgeous" - Vibrations Magazine
‘Lone Wolf’ has been a silent film, a book, a song, a TV series and a Native American chief, but never the alter ego of a singer, until Paul Marshall chose it to house his subtly sombre, gorgeously haunting songs.
Having used his own name for 2007’s acoustic-based debut Vultures, Lone Wolf signals a much expanded sound. His album dovetails perfectly with Bella Union’s stable of supreme melodicists and outstanding vocalists, such as Fleet Foxes, John Grant and Stephanie Dosen. But The Devil & I stands alone, as lone wolves do. The melodies may be persuasively dreamy and the vocal delivery tender and restrained, but the mood is troubled.
Is the devil a female of the species? In the opening ‘This Is War’, the narrator confesses, “The demons are alive in her head... This ain’t a war I’ll be coming home from.” The tension subsides for ‘Keep Your Eyes On The Road’ that has the plaintive harmonies and acoustic warmth of Crosby, Stills & Nash, though that bucolic image fades as soon as Marshall warns his driver, “keep your eyes on the road / I have no desire to be the flower on the central reservation.” The song ends with the tension well and truly ramped, and so the album goes, shifting between troubadour tenderness and fleshed-out band drama.
Vultures had its dark parts but little compares to these new songs, which grip like a vice, from murder ballad ‘15 Letters’ to the more oblique threat of ‘We Could Use Your Blood’ and ‘Buried Beneath The Tiles’, or strung across the triple whammy of ‘Russian Winter’, ‘Soldier’ and ‘Dead River’. And then there’s the two-part title track, from doomy-grey instrumental to the band version that closes the album on a haunted high.
Lone Wolf has momentarily abandoned his solitary alienation to play live with a backing band of Leeds peers - Lindsay Wilson (Grammatics), James Mabbett (Napoleon IIIrd) and James Kenosha. The Devil & I sounds like there’s little hope left, but in fact, it all begins here. Paul Marshall is metaphorically dead. Long live Lone Wolf.