Album Of The Week - Wolf Alice - Visions Of A Life
Following on from last week's alternative masterclass comes a rather up-to-date entry for our Album Of The Week feature - it's indie rock outfit Wolf Alice's seminal 2017 album Visions Of A Life.
Now, I'd been introduced to the wonderful Wolf Alice around eighteen months ago by my best friend when this second album dropped. They'd recommended them to me as I'd been listening to Green Day and Arctic Monkeys by this point and in my view, Wolf Alice fit somewhere in-between those two rock giants. This album is a perfect mix of attitude, punch and contemporary art rock.
Opener Heavenward presents Ellie Rowsell as this dreamy, laid-back lead singer and the song itself features some wonderful drum-work from Joel Amey behind the kit. His work on the rest of the album is simply brilliant and this track in particular highlights his ability. The vocal is high, like a one-woman choir and I have to commend Ellie's vocals on the rest of the album too. Beautifully Unconventional is an amazing song with its crisp feel and ominous, yet jazzy bass tones. There's emotion aplenty that can be found too, with Don't Delete The Kisses being the stand-out track of the entire album and the conversational delivery is reminiscent of Alex Turner of the Arctic Monkeys. Formidable Cool is raunchy in delivery and the work from Joff Oddie on lead guitar is absolutely admirable. The vocal is cold-hearted but packs plenty of punch on the refrain and towards the end of the track, Rowsell really does go for it. It's my favourite track on the album with its sinister feel and haunting lyrical delivery.
What's great about this album is the variety of songs. Stompers such as the wonderfully abusive Yuk Foo, which I would describe as an idyllic, modern punk record, are balanced out by the closing title track that I would put under more of the progressive banner, both in terms of length and variation within the song itself. It carries attitude in its instrumentation and in particular, the dark guitar notes that are juxtaposed by a lighter vocal from Rowsell. It culminates in this large wall of noise that is also there when played live. Moreover, there's some real energy to be found with tracks such as Space And Time which is an outstanding song to hear played live and their performance at TRNSMT Festival last year was especially brilliant.
I completely run out of superlatives when describing this album to people and wish for everyone to heap as much praise as is physically possible onto these guys from Islington. Many artists in the past have suffered from what the music industry calls second-album-syndrome where their second effort is by no means as good as their first. Artists such as The Strokes (Room On Fire) and Franz Ferdinand (You Could Have It So Much Better) have suffered with this affliction and Wolf Alice have only got better in my book with this masterpiece. It's one I'd recommend to all our readers if you want something fresh, new and, in my eyes, absolutely perfect. Great work guys!
More musical magnificence to come next week!