London’s Wolf Alice have been making a name for themselves since forming in 2010. Originally set out as an acoustic duo consisting of Ellie Rowsell (vocals/guitar) and Joff Oddie (guitar), the pair eventually decided to add electronic elements to their sound, and soon became a four-piece. After a couple of line-up changes, Theo Ellis and Joel Amey were recruited on bass and drums respectively.
They released their debut single, ‘Fluffy’, back in 2013, followed by a few more stand-alone singles, and eventually their breakthrough full-length debut album, ‘My Love Is Cool’, dropped in 2015. Two years later, and they’re back with their new full-length ‘Visions Of A Life’, and it’s definitely a record that packs a punch.
Beginning with the transcendent ‘Heavenward’, a strong sense of dynamics combined with a haunting vocal delivery from Rowsell make for a captivating opener, and an extremely raw introduction to the album. It’s clear that Wolf Alice have taken on a wide variety of influences with this record as an ambiance seeps through in ‘Planet Hunter’, while Rowsell‘s vocals are complimented by a souring instrumental,that begins with a simple acoustic guitar before gradually filling out into a dreamy distorted ending, topped off with a tasteful guitar solo.
In contrast to this, ‘Yuk Foo’ and ‘Space & Boy’ showcase their heavier side, and are filled to the brim with crunchy ascending guitar melodies and relentless drums. Rowsell is also able to demonstrate just how much versatility she has in her voice in comparison to the delicate delivery in ‘Heavenward’ and ‘St. Purple & Green’. ‘Yuk Foo’ in particular lands on the opposite side of the spectrum with some unforgiving gritty vocals.
Honestly, the amount going on throughout ‘Visions Of A Life’ both lyrically and musically is quite astounding, and it’s definitely a record that needs to be digested multiple times. Uncovering something brand new within something that’s already been heard is a great feeling, and it’s a feeling that Wolf Alice are sure to leave their fans with many times with this release.
Sophomore records are often known to be ‘make it or break it’ for bands, especially when they come off the back of a successful debut. With ‘Visions Of A Life’, Wolf Alice have proved once again that they can deliver consistently well, and that they’re set to be around for a long time to come.
Written by Phoebe Constable (@phoebecnstable)