Wolf Alice are a band who need no introduction; the eagerly awaited release of their second album Visions Of A Life is just days away (29th September) and is set to lead them to more success than ever before. Having built the anticipation of fans with cryptic postcards, the steady release of new material and a tour of venues the band played early in their career, there’s no doubt that the world is ready for the pure excitement that is this album.
Beginning with the last track to be revealed before the album release, Heavenward there’s no time wasted in displaying the different vibe that Wolf Alice have gone for in comparison to their debut album My Love Is Cool. There’s a psychedelic feel amongst it’s distorted guitars and a raw emotion to Ellie Rowsell’s stunning vocals, which certainly leaves you a little surprised as track two comes in.
That track two being the first of the new material we heard from the four, the bolshy Yuk Foo. Packed with expletives, screeching guitar and a new kind of attitude we’ve not heard from Wolf Alice before, it’s the only track which took me a while to get to grips with; but it’s grown on me and has earned a place in my ‘need my sass back’ playlist.
Beautifully Unconventional and Don’t Delete The Kisses continue the album, both of which I’ve been madly in love with since my first listen. The contrasting energy of the two somehow works, from the addictive chorus of Beautifully Unconventional to the melancholic beauty of Don’t Delete The Kisses, not even half way through the album I find myself in awe of the ability and range of a band who are undeniably one of the best around.
Track five of twelve is where the unheard material comes in. Starting with the simply stunning Planet Hunter, it’s impossible not to feel overwhelmed with excitement throughout every second of this album. The gentle emotion of Ellie’s vocals combined with the building atmosphere created by shimmering guitar is almost spine tingling, steadily evolving into what is a reminder of their earlier material.
As the half way point is met with Sky Musings, things are taken up another notch. Husky vocals are almost haunting in the most pleasant of ways and loud but steadied drums bring out a kind of intensity you wouldn’t expect from Wolf Alice, yet it still works. It’s the kind of track which really makes you stop what you’re doing and just listen, and it’s proof that this band aren’t just your standard indie rock four piece.
Formidable Cool returns to a rockier feel with a storming riff and almost spoken vocals, constantly building into what is eventually that track you can just picture causing madness amongst a live crowd. It’s yet another layer of Wolf Alice, continuing to provide an insane amount of variety which somehow still works as an album.
Keeping up that rock-ish energy, Space & Time is thriving from start to finish. From it’s thrashing drum beats and storming bass to the pure power of Ellie’s vocals, within seconds of listening you will be dreaming of hearing it live. It’s so perfectly Wolf Alice, the perfect reminder of why they are constantly becoming more and more successful.
Sadboy is probably my least favourite from Visions Of A Life, but is by no means any less than the other eleven. The simple thing is, there’s so much going on from the very start of the album it feels almost like a pick and mix, yet whichever order you put it in it’s still going to work. Sadboy is captivating in it’s slightly folk-rock sound, the intensity of it’s lyrics simply drawing you in while it’s thrashing riffs almost feel as if they throw you back out again;.
As the album starts to draw to it’s end with St.Purple & Green, there’s another unexpected twist with an intro of almost gospel like vocals, quickly met with a heavy instrumental section before drifting back to a simple, mellow feel. The occasional interruption of those loud drums and guitar almost refuse to allow you to drift off into those dreamy mellow sections, demanding your attention at all times. After The Zero Hour however, sees those heavenly moments flow feely, shimmering in the most soothing and mesmerising of ways; gently drifting you into the penultimate track of the album.
That penultimate track of course being the seven minute and fifty seven second long title track, Visions Of A Life. Starting out with the gentle sound of cymbals and a more grungey guitar feel, there’s anticipation oozing from every second. As you’d expect from an almost eight minute long Wolf Alice track, it doesn’t take long for an intensity to build, breaking into a sound which I only want to describe as simply Wolf Alice. The title track perfectly sums up the entirety of album two, full of excitement, intensity and variety; simply breath taking from start to finish.
Visions Of A Life is available from 29th September on Dirty Hit.