Album Review: Rufus Wainwright

21 April 2012 | 5:07 pm | Liz Giuffre

It’s a return to personal, playful and the ‘just because he can’ musically unusual and simply gorgeous.

Now roughly onto album number seven (argue, purists, over whether the best of and live ones count), Rufus Wainwright offers the divine Out Of The Game, produced by Mark Ronson. It's a return to personal, playful and the 'just because he can' musically unusual and simply gorgeous.

The title track provides the opener, and a return to a more 'contemporary' style after Wainwright's last effort with song cycles and Shakespeare on All The Days Are Nights (2010), but it also happily lets Wainwright proclaim himself as an old fart (hence lines about the pretty young things still out in 'the game', where he asks, sweetly, “Does your mamma know what you're doing?”).

Beyond this, Wainwright also gives a nod to his new daughter – Viva Katherine – and late mother – Katherine McGarrigle – with Montauk. He uses an almost '80s synth pop approach for his partner's ode, Perfect Man, and also sings to an unidentifiable but clearly worthy muse in Song Of You (think along the lines of the sweetness of Elton John's Your Song, before it was done to death). Particular kudos here too to an as-yet unnamed mystery vocalist on Rashida, who offers a scream/sing outro that steals the show in the same way Clare Torry stole Pink Floyd's The Great Gig In The Sky, and also to the choice to include bagpipes, for no reason other than they're the equivalent of musical tightrope walking, to closing track Candles.