by Samantha Mae
“See you in a thousand years”: The words uttered by Ellie Rowsell, as Wolf Alice‘s final main set of the year came to a close, before the band set off to record the highly anticipated follow up to debut LP, My Love Is Cool. It wasn’t as long a wait as that though because just one year later, Visions of a Life is good to go.
Following a promotion campaign during which fans were sent postcards to represent each track of the new album, the first single to be previewed was the ever so thoughtfully named, ‘Yuk Foo‘. The track was not only an anthem of frustration, but also a real ‘yuk feah’ to celebrate their return. It was a ferocious message that Wolf Alice are most certainly back and they will not go unnoticed.
Second single, ‘Don’t Delete The Kisses’, takes us in a totally different direction with its sweet and hazy pop sound. A sickly love song with a difference. This monologue of a track sets the scene perfectly, effortlessly putting the listener in the shoes of the protagonist. What really hits home with this track is the complexity of human emotion and how feelings are processed. A sweet little song it might be, but it’s also one of the most realistic love songs of the year.
The album opens in the most blissful way, with most recent single, ‘Heavenward’. The incredibly personal track is emotional to the core, not stopping at the vocals, but continuing with the electrifying guitar that really gives the sense of soaring heavenward. Lyrically poignant too with “I’m gonna celebrate you forever” lingering in the mind for a little while longer. This is a deeply beautiful tribute to a lost friend.
There is something a little more personal about this second album, but there is a lot of growth to be seen, too. It’s less about a band finally doing what they want to do, but rather what they want having changed, which only makes sense after a certain amount of time, yet is not always so easy to pull off. Previous album My Love is Cool seemed hard to top, but in truth it would do each album an injustice to say one is better than the other. Though at first it feels like we’ve heard the best of it in the singles that came before its full release, there is a lot more to discover; from the Wolf Alice we know and love, to an exciting new side of them and everything in between.
Each track shines in its own light, whether it is the groove of ‘Beautifully Unconventional’, painting a picture of somebody that we either want to be or be with; or the rhythmic ecstasy of ‘Formidable Cool’. A highly satisfying number, starting off with bass and blues, only to build up to a relentless energy, harking back ever so slightly to ‘Yuk Foo’ as it ripples through the body. This track is just screaming to be played loud and is surely a must for live shows to come. Closing track ‘Visions’ is deeper still, a bite size chunk of the album as a whole as calm moments explode into a frenzy and back again.
Despite flicking different tones at the start, there is an overall fluidity to the album. However, just as we think we have it figured out, Wolf Alice throw us off the scent, only for it to make complete sense in the moment. Visions of a Life teases the listener from bliss to fury; a triumphant return, not that we expected anything less.
Visions of a Life is out on September 29th via Dirty Hit.