Solidifying themselves as one of the biggest alternative names to make their way into the mainstream media over the past few years, Wolf Alice have done nothing less than impress us all, particularly with the release of their invigorating debut album My Love Is Cool back in mid-2015.
Earning themselves a substantial fan base through impactful live shows and four remarkable EPs in the years prior to their first full-length release, expectations were already high. Winning the iTunes ‘Best New Band’ award later that same year, it was evident that London four-piece were setting some pretty high standards for themselves in the years to come. Now, with their highly-anticipated follow-up Visions of a Life due for release tomorrow (read out 5* review, here), let’s take a look back at the record that threw the band into the spotlight…
Kick-starting an ambitious new wave of nineties-inspired grunge, My Love Is Cool opens with the haunting ‘Turn to Dust’, as frontwoman Ellie Rowsell takes centre stage with her mesmerising, almost invocational vocal talents, backed by steady drums and gentle guitars. It’s the re-recorded ‘Bros’ however, that brilliantly showcases the band’s signature pop-grunge sound, taking potential influence from nineties favourites Letters to Cleo, The Cranberries and Babes in Toyland, complimenting them with fluffy, nostalgic lyrical themes of reckless teenage abandon. ‘Your Love’s Whore’ follows this sound perfectly, kicking things up a notch with more memorable guitar riffs, stadium-esque vocals and bittersweet atmosphere, paving the way for the somewhat heavier dirty-grunge vibes of ‘You’re A Germ’.
‘Lisbon’ maintains this sound with strong, aggressive basslines, contrasted brilliantly by Rowsell’s humorously-light vocals as she recounts the end of a bad relationship. The record takes a subtle step back here with the atmospheric and vulnerably-beautiful ‘Silk’, bearing a slight resemblance the haunting new wave sounds of The Cure and Joy Division, before the summery vibes of ‘Freazy’ take over in an impressive dream-pop effort. ‘Giant Peach’ certainly marks a stand-out track for this record, smashing into the spotlight with heavier guitars than anything else on this record, combining a hint of early-metal influence with the band’s traditional grunge-pop sounds.
The outstanding ‘Swallowtail’ follows here as drummer Joel Amey takes over on lead vocals. Despite the band’s great reputation for having a talented female vocalist, there’s no denying that Amey’s vocal work effortlessly places ‘Swallowtail’ among the Wolf Alice’s best tracks of all time. ‘Soapy Water’ takes on an entirely different sound, incorporating electro-pop influences, easily comparable to Melanie Martinez, but manages not to stray from the band’s signature style, before the indie rock stroke of genius ‘Fluffy’ pays tribute to some of the biggest names in nineties girl-rock. Summarising this remarkable debut and drawing it to a close, hidden track ‘The Wonderwhy’ boasts echoes of ‘Swallowtail’, ‘Freazy’ and ‘Bros’, taking on another dose of new-wave sounds and seductive guitars. My Love Is Cool will certainly be a tough act to follow.
Visions of a Life is out on September 29th via Dirty Hit Records. Read out 5* review, here.