Wolf Alice: Visions Of A Life

- Whenever a band releases a successful debut record there is always the pressure to bring an even greater piece of art out out the next time round. Fortunately, the North-London quartet Wolf Alice have achieved this and in just over two years at that. Dodging the difficult-second-record downfall, Visions of a Life is actually embedded in layers of surprise, much like a thrilling game of pass the parcel.

Devoted fans will be happy to know that there are plenty of signature jams on this release, shoegaze vocals, '90’s grunge rock and even an acoustic number. Whilst rediscovering the band via these layers, be prepared to be slapped with an abundance of screaming, shouting, and high-dose profanity. Loud moments aren’t so new for Wolf Alice, they just weren't as prominent, previously. This phase reminds me of the evolution of Foals: hiding a few complete outbursts in the placid surrounds. Unlike Foals, the WA have dauntlessly yo-yoed this effect across the whole LP; it's war and peace all in a day’s work. Some folks can make being bipolar work, Wolf Alice certainly do and it just goes to show that they have grown as a band.

Perfect examples, my standouts, include second single Don’t Delete My Kisses -a cool blend of Grimes and M83- but reminiscent of past hits. I also love Formidable Cool: a heavy rock and roll track, featuring a truck load of cussing. Ellie Roswell's vocal style here reminds me of The Runaways on Cherrybomb, narrating the tale with opening line, “He’s got you on your knees with that formidable cool”, yep, you guessed it, this is one of those tracks.

Another winner is Sadboy, a somewhat grungy song, asking why a boy is feeling so bitter and acting like he's already dead. I can see myself sending this gem over to all my friends who love being dramatic and sulking about life. Title track Visions of a Life is an eight-minute utterly grunge affair that ties the album off surprisingly graciously for slacker rock: slowly burning but with a few changes of pace to hold your attention right to the final bow. Much like the album in micro, it's a study in contrasts: those mellow verses and boisterous choruses. Hey all you fans who're wondering what's up with this newly energised Wolf Alice: without the ying, would you appreciate the yang of this record? Huh? So brace yourself, because you need what's coming.

- Luke Doig.


Album Details

Album Title: Visions Of A Life
Artist: Wolf Alice
Record Label: (Dirty Hit / Liberator / Mushroom)