Wolf Alice’s 2015 debut was as much a statement of intent as it was an attention-grabbing album. The London alt-rock four-piece meant business and were appetising advocates of British guitar music. But while My Love Is Cool served as a fitting debut, there was an underlying feeling that they could do so much more. Fast forward to the release of new album Visions Of A Life and it appears that they’ve retained their intoxicating blend of alternative rock, folk. This time, however, they’ve honed their Jekyll & Hyde style of switching between the calm and the chaos.
‘Heavenward’ will ignite the venues of their headline UK tour in November. A soaring ethereal introduction which blasts the doors wide open and announces their arrival. This is quickly followed by the raucous punk stylings of ‘Yuk Foo’ – a no-nonsense (and certainly not cryptic) discordant assault led by Ellie Roswell’s uncompromising rage-induced shouting. It’ll work for the fans of the frustration, but I’m less enthused.
I much prefer Wolf Alice when they have a more grounded approach. Singles ‘Beautifully Unconventional’ and ‘Don’t Delete The Kisses’ are more satisfying in this regard. The latter highlights the situation of hiding true feelings over digital communication amidst fears of commitment. Something I’m sure a lot of us have done at some point. Set to a subtly-changing backdrop it plays out almost like a spoken-word poem.
I much prefer Wolf Alice when they have a more grounded approach.
The rest of the album is a bit of mixed bag. ‘Planet Hunter’ is a wishy-washy reflection about not wanting the night to end resulting from a New Year’s Eve party. ‘Sky Musings’ conveys darks thoughts which floated around Ellie’s mind during a long-haul flight which doesn’t make for very captivating listening.
As the album trundles towards its end, I can’t help but feel that the band have become too arty and self-indulgent for album two. It’s less about creating lasting riffs and choruses which they achieved on My Love Is Cool and more about paranoid poetry.
Sets off on a steady course and then heads wayward
Less consistent and coherent than their debut
Song quality sacrificed for dark spoken-word commentary
|2. Yuk Foo|
|3. Beautifully Unconventional|
|4. Don’t Delete The Kisses|
|5. Planet Hunter|
|6. Sky Musings|
|7. Formidable Cool|
|8. Space & Time|
|10. St. Purple & Green|
|11. After The Zero Hour|
|12. Visions Of A Life|