A Review of Wolf Alice’s Sophomore Record, Visions of A Life
By Erin Christie
September 29th opened up a whole new world for British rockers when Wolf Alice released their sophomore record, Visions of a Life in full. After a long two-year wait following the release of their highly- acclaimed debut record, My Love is Cool, Wolf Alice returned to the scene earlier this year, brand-spanking-new and ready to make a statement even louder than the one that they had made before.
Hailing from North London, Wolf Alice has only begun to grow and expand since their conception, having gotten their start playing small pubs and bars, and now moving onto the arena scene as of late. This major crescendo, a feat that doesn’t come easily to many bands attempting to make it big in the industry, came like a strike of lightning to this iconic foursome. Dirty Hit Records snatched them up to join the ranks of their label-mates The 1975, The Japanese House, Pale Waves, and more. Quickly gaining an almost cult following, Wolf Alice, branded with and decked out in shimmering glitter, left fans’ mouths watering during the two year wait between their last record until now, the start of a decade to be drenched in gold.
Prior to their explosive re-entry into the scene, the band released four larger-than-life singles, each of which containing elements previously untouched by the band that only exemplify their true versatility and honest talent. Revving to go and making certain that their return would be anything but discreet, “Yuk Foo,” the band’s head-banging, aggressive lead single and re-introduction to the music scene was released during June of 2017, marking the beginning of a new era for Ellie, Joel, Joff, and Theo, and the start of an album cycle unlike any other. Three singles followed including “Beautifully Unconventional”- a head-banging, toe-tapping instant classic; “Heavenward”- a heartfelt, yet intense track that seamlessly transitions into brooding undertones; and “Don’t Delete the Kisses”- one of the most adorable tracks to date and reminiscent of 2015’s “Bros” which heightened in urgency with the aspect of romantic love lingering in the air. With these singles alone, it was already clear that this record was only giving listeners a taste of the brilliance that was to come in the near future.
“He’s got you on your knees with that formidable cool,” Rowsell breathes into the microphone as “Formidable Cool” comes to fruition, defining yet another unforgettably epic track detailing the instant butterflies one feels when locking eyes with another across the dance floor, immediately becoming entranced. As exhibited in many of the other songs that make up this record, Ellie’s voice here reeks angst filled frustration tinged with pure lust, her ability to relay clean-cut emotion ringing out like a gong during a silent night. From start to finish, Visions of A Life leaks pure passion- whether coming in the form of anger, love, melancholy, regret, or otherwise - as evident through the scorching highs present in the flippant “Yuk Foo” and chilly lows present in “After the Zero Hour,” a confident power- ballad, exhibited by Rowsell and accompanied by Joel Amey on the drums, Theo Ellis shredding along on bass until his fingers nearly break, and Joff Oddie strumming away on guitar in perfect time.
Visions of A Life marks Wolf Alice’s place among the stars and within indie-rock cool, this record only solidifying the fact that they truly cannot be stopped and won’t be anytime soon. Redefining modern-day alternative and leading the pack in terms of stellar releases this year, it is clear that Wolf Alice is prepared to pioneer an entirely new movement within the music industry, one set apart by true individuality, fearlessness, and ambiguity.