Two years after their triumphant debut album ‘My Love is Cool’, London 4 piece Wolf Alice have returned with their stunning, sophomore record ‘Visions Of A Life’. It’s a beautifully poetic and diverse album taking inspirations and ideas from a multitude of genres. This makes for a music experience that only Wolf Alice could conger up, and this album proves that the band are hitting bigger, and more impressive heights.
First track ‘Heavenward’ is easily one of Wolf Alice’s best tracks to date. Taking huge influences from shoegaze bands such as My Bloody Valentine, the band are able to create this soaring, fuzzy sounding track which is both euphoric and elegant. Ellie’s reverb soaked vocals glide through the track and the soaring raging guitars in the background create that wall of noise effect we see from bands like My Bloody Valentine and Slowdive.
With Wolf Alice experimenting with more genres, we delve back into the raw grunge and heavier sounds of tracks such as ‘Giant Peach’, ‘Fluffy’ and ‘Moaning Lisa Smile’. The first single from the new album, ‘Yuk Foo’ sees Wolf Alice lose their minds on a hectic and stormy track. The hefty and truly large bass riff that ripples through the track with a heck load of force. This is the darker and more brutal side to Wolf Alice, and with Ellie screaming “Well, I don’t give a shit” in the final few seconds, and with the ‘Whole Lotta Love’ sounding vocal swells, Wolf Alice have turned themselves into a true force to be reckoned with.
Again with the multitude of genres, and we again switch. From Shoegaze to Grunge we now enter a cheery, almost pop like track with ‘Beautifully Unconventional’. It’s a groove filled track with a belting chorus. Not to mention a great music video portraying Ellie and the band as glamorous 50’s celebrities. The only fault with this track is that i feel it is slightly too short, yet the ‘Beautifully Unconventional’ is a superb track.
The fourth track on the album, and arguably one of my favourites is ‘Don’t Delete The Kisses’. This song could easily be the definition of a “stunning track”. “What, if, it’s, not, meant for me?” chants Ellie Rosewell, who can expect her fans to most definitely chant the lyrics back to her. The beautiful, simple synths which layer the background with a gorgeous texture, mix in with the mellow and steady drum patterns. The increased pitch in with synths at around 4 minutes creates for a perfect and stunning finish to a truly great Wolf Alice track.
The first of the album tracks now, and ‘Planet Hunter’ is where Ellies vocals sound more stunning than ever, and with the melodic guitar riffs and synth which float through the track until the crash and imminent moments of when Joel’s drum kick bursts into the picture, we gather that Wolf Alice are creating some of their finest moments on this track. The chorus of this specific track does have similarities towards Slowdive and their uses of reverb on both vocals and guitar, creating one heck of sound which Wolf Alice pull off magnificently.
‘Sky Musings’ see’s Ellie singing softly, yet at a fast pace over a pulsating drum beat, with her ferocity growing throughout the track with a superb, epic, swelling finish to the track. Its build, along with the soft and steady vocals of Ellie, create an almost interlude type feel to the track. ‘Formidable Cool’ is a formidably funky track with a walking bass line and a thunderous chorus. Ellie has her vocals stretched, and her talkative style vocals echoes through the track beautifully.
The 8th track on the album, ‘Space & Time’ is a bouncy number with a great sounding guitar riff. Screeching guitars soar through the track and provide an excellent backing track for the song, giving an almost Indie/pop feel to the song. ‘Sadboy’, with its acoustic and mellow sounds gives a much calmer vibe to the track. 1 Minute and 44 seconds in, and the harsh sounds of Wolf Alice really appear again in a ferocious capacity. This further engages with the albums pick and mix the attitude of genres and volume. The band cranks up the volume further at the 3 Minute mark with a thunderous crash of drums and thrashing guitars, with Ellie’s harmonising vocals taking centre stage.
‘St Purple and Green’ again gives off a more mellow approach, but we again see the failing to tame the wolf that lies within the band as it builds into a thumping and in your face opening to the track. The verses provide yet a different sense of tempo and volume with the song coming to life in the chorus. Penultimate track ‘After The Zero Hour’ is much softer and mellow in contrast to other tracks on the record. Its mellow and almost magical approach mixes a smooth and peaceful acoustic guitar with Ellie Roswells gorgeous and calming vocals. It’s a match made in heaven. It’s sweet, and truly is heavenly.
The final track on the album is the goliath 8 Minute long title track ‘Visions Of A Life’. All aspects from the album, and all ties to other genres and styles are thrown together, in what is one of the highlights on the album. The erupting nature of the track, with its steady build, leading into its speeding tempo at 2 minutes 30 seconds, gradually building like a speeding train ready to hit its maximum speed. The song completely erupts at 3 minutes 55 Seconds as a huge guitar riff is poured into the mix.
Wolf Alice are back. They’ve made a formidable footprint in their path to success. This is a band on the course to dominate the music scene and they are well and truly on their way.
9/10, Words by Piran Aston
Wolf Alice tour the uk later this year in November with support coming from Sunflower Bean and Superfood, tickets can be found here:
Featured image courtesy of The Clash magazine, other images courtesy of Wolf Alice Official twitter.