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Wolf Gang, Atlas Genius, The Royal Concept

WOLF GANG With starry-eyed optimism and a mid-Atlantic accent, Brit wunderkind Max McElligott seeks to conquer America with a sublime union of swirling symphonics and sticky-sweet electro-pop. The singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist’s insanely insistent calling card with his Wolf Gang project, “Lions in Cages,” is an appealing mishmash of Patrick Wolf’s baroque camp and MGMT’s warmly soaring synths, and has already been featured on Gossip Girl and a General Motors campaign. Wolf Gang’s other songs don’t hit the heights of “Lions,” but not for want of trying. On “Something Unusual,” McElligott even manages to mimic Armed Forces-era Elvis Costello. Touring with a full-time band, McElligott supplements his shimmering sonic template with borrowed bits of Passion Pit, Rufus Wainwright and Hunky Dory-era Bowie. McElligott’s earnest but oddly inexpressive falsetto shoots for the vaguely psychedelic gravitas of Peter Gabriel, but lands closer to veteran glam brat Adam Ant. Wolf Gang holds promise, and is at its best when it sticks to sparkly ’80s-inflected indie pop. When McElligott and the band goes for deeper meaning on mid-tempo ballads, the result is refried Howard Jones.

— Pat Moran

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