Paula Wolfe’s third album ‘White Dots’ (Sib Records 2019)has been hailed ‘exquisite’, ‘glorious’ and ‘addictive’ (* * * * MOJO) and sees ‘The multi-hyphenate in excellent form’ (Mike Davies, Folking.com).
Proclaimed ‘a MOJO artist’ (Lucy O’Brien), this latest ‘collection of songs that combine glorious Brill Building-style chant, jazz drums and lustrous strings’ have seen critics compare her to many of our greats. She has been described as ‘a latter-day Carole King’ (Lucy O’Brien) and ‘part Kirsty MacColl’ (Velvet Sheep) whilst for others her songs recall ‘the eloquence of Ray Davies and Paul Weller in their pomp’ married with ‘the spirit of Lily Allen and Laura Marling’ (Travellers Tunes).
With the album’s first single, ‘Georgia Blue’, positioned as ‘ “That’s Entertainment” for the woke generation’ (Travellers Tunes), all are in agreement that Wolfe is ‘super-smart and keenly observant’ and who has presented a new array of characters on ‘White Dots’ with ‘unerring charm’ (Velvet Sheep). They include a cross-dressing train driver, a solitary caravan dweller in southern France, an ageing bachelor looking for late love online and Mexico City’s street children working its nocturnal streets while their compatriots busk on the Paris Metro on the other side of the world.
Throughout her career, the work of the London and Norfolk based artist-producer has consistently received strong support. It is no surprise, therefore, that this ‘joyful soul pop follow-up’ (LoB) to her critically acclaimed 2009 ‘Lemon’ (* * * * MOJO, * * * UNCUT, * * * Maverick) is no exception and that Wolfe’s skills as a songwriter, producer and musician continue to flourish and to enchant: ‘Layered with such vivid characters and enriching landscapes, Wolfe has provided an album that keeps on giving.’ (Mike Adams)
‘White Dots’ is also a body of work that confirms Wolfe as ‘a major talent’(MusicOMH) and affirms her reputation as ‘a splendid songwriter’ (Nigel Williamson, UNCUT), who writes ‘exceptional’ lyrics delivered with a ‘gorgeous’ voice (Laura Bethel, Maverick). Little wonder her intelligent balancing of lyrical theme and musical form have earned her personal praise from the Head of Music at BBC Radio 2 and 6Music (Jeff Smith) and the type of accolade expressed by one critic who has declared her work, ‘A flawless exercise in modern art, that boasts enough melody to make this as warm and approachable as possible, whilst being unafraid to extend an olive branch to the musos; stunning’ (Tom Brampton, New-noise.net).
Having garnered widespread praise for ‘hitting the mark on both sides of the desk’ (Neil King, Fatea Magazine), Wolfe is no less acclaimed as a live performer and has been described as simply ‘mesmeric’ (The Guardian Hay Festival) and ‘brilliant’ (Sky Arts). So, if critics have long marked her out as ‘a rising star’ (BBC Introducing), ‘a rising talent’ (Time Out) and indeed ‘a formidable talent’ (Mike Davies, Netrhythms), what was she doing between her second and third release?
Well, in between building a studio in a 16th century run-down country house and then writing, recording and producing the album in its entirety, she completed a PhD, established a global profile as a leading scholar in the field of music production, taught to pay the bills and secured a publishing contract. Released alongside the album, her book, Women in The Studio (Routledge 2019), has been received as ‘captivating’, ‘crucial’ and ‘timely’ and nominated for The Excellence in Historical Recorded Sound Research Award 2020: https://www.routledge.com/Women-in-the-Studio-Creativity-Control-and-Gender-in-Popular-Music-Sound/Wolfe/p/book/9781472474872.
Since the double drop, Wolfe has been delivering public lectures based on her book, touring and live streaming. She has also been reworking and remastering her back catalogue, due for release later this year, along with writing new work for her fourth album and for a book of poetry. In addition, she is looking to develop commission work in film, theatre and TV.