The Bachelor is a barely there concept album about love, doubt, and all those other traumatic things that pop up when the two are combined. It was originally supposed to be a double album, but British multi-instrumentalist Wolf trimmed the content, retaining songs that have titles like “Kriegspiel” and “Theseus.” (He’s planning a sequel consisting of the leftover tracks). Wolf has always been an ambitious type, loading his records with lots of skittering synths, baroque flourishes, and bombastic vocals. On his fourth album, he throws his ambition into overdrive. “Hard Times” sounds like one of those early ’80s new-wave epics Ultravox recorded. “Oblivion”’s stabbing strings end up hijacking the entire melody. And “Damaris” is a kitchen-sink ballad complete with a choir joining in on a “rise up” chorus. But Wolf’s overstuffed cuts start to lose their balance about halfway through The Bachelor. There’s only so much violin, choral, and electro-speckled ornate pop you can cram onto a CD before it reaches a breaking point.
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