Rufus Wainwright (4 stars)

Rufus Wainwright

Release The Stars (Polydor)

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Conceived as a more commercial release than the acclaimed but largely overlooked Want One and Want Two, Release the Stars is nothing of the sort, not so much radio-unfriendly as radio-oblivious, despite the presence of Neil Tennant as executive producer. Disappointing on its own terms, Rufus Wainwright’s fifth album is all the more appealing for being distinctively, disastrously him - by turns melancholic, flamboyant and orchestrally overblown, in awe of Hollywood and Brandon Flowers, swept along by the verve of its lush, sweeping arrangements. The bitter single ‘Going to a Town’ and the carnal ‘Between My Legs’ won’t endear him to middle America, but for Wainwright’s admirers, this is 12 more reasons to love him.

(Jay Richardson)

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