Rufus Wainwright

Want Two Dreamworks/Geffen

Four albums on, Rufus Wainwright's skewered ruminations reflect an inward, soul-baring gaze that quickly defuses any possibility of instant connection. His last outing, the multihued Want One, upped the ante, with its ambitious arrangements supporting his trademark croon, a nonchalance that warbles midway between Morrissey and Elliott Smith. Want Two, taken from the same sessions, surveys similar terrain as he waxes plaintive about a schoolboy crush ("The Art Teacher"), romantic intransigence ("This Love Affair"), and lovers near and far ("Crumb By Crumb"), imbuing them all with sexual sting. His stilted delivery, braced dramatically by grand pianos, sweeping strings, and melodies that could have been lifted from a Kurt Weill operetta, is intriguing though rarely embracing. A live bonus DVD, culling tracks from Want One and Two, offers artist and audience opportunity for further indulgence.
 
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