As a band that ‘seem destined to become one of Britain’s best music exports’, Guy Marcham reviews the ‘bolstering and thunderous’ new album by Wolf Alice, Visions Of A Life.
After their blistering 2015 debut, My Love is Cool, Wolf Alice had already been described as the stars of an up and coming generation of British guitar music, scoring both Mercury Prize and Grammy nominations and a sea of sweaty, young and adoring fans. Such success has seen them headline venues such as 02 Academy Bristol and even Margate’s By The Sea festival. The follow-up to such overwhelming and early success was always going to be tough. However, Visions Of A Life lives up to expectations and sees Ellie Roswell and Co. shrug off tired stereotypes of rising, British guitar acts as they fully cement their position, with incredible commercial and critical success alongside this bolstering and thunderous new album.
The first two tracks ‘Heavenward’ and ‘Yuk Foo’ epitomise Wolf Alice’s vehement charge; producing an explosive start to an album that further places Wolf Alice as an integral guitar act in British music, even at a time when guitar music is somewhat experiencing a steady decline. The grunge influenced thrash of electric guitars, however, paves way for the slick swagger of ‘Beautifully Unconventional’.
However, it’s a further expansion of Wolf Alice’s hypnotic dream induced guitar music that leaves the biggest impression. Lead single ‘Don’t Delete The Kisses’ is a prime example of a direction that further pronounces Roswell’s dark and shivering whispers to an eerie but delicately beautiful effect. The balance between the towering raucous grunge influenced guitars – as heard on ‘Yuk Foo’ and ‘Space and Time’ – and the vocal layers of ‘After the Zero Hour -‘ make Wolf Alice’s second outing a vast improvement on the already incredible foundation laid by 2015’s debut.
Watch the video for ‘Yuk Foo’ directed by Adam Powell below:
Visions Of A Life offers a rollercoaster ride from grungy teenage angst, anger and unrelenting rage to vocal layerings filled with gorgeous mystique and verses swamped by Roswell’s intimate lyrics. One would not have been surprised if Wolf Alice had suffocated under the immense pressure of following their incredible debut album and living up to their billing as the saviour of British guitar music.
However, it seems the band merely use this to their advantage as Roswell howls ‘I don’t give a shit,’ on the unrelenting fuzz-infused ‘Yuk Foo.’ As Roswell instructs and repeats the line “Go Heavenward” on the opening track of Visions Of A Life, Wolf Alice clearly seem destined to become one of Britain’s best musical exports and on the quartet’s sophomore album, they’ve certainly made a huge step closer to becoming just that.
Visions Of A Life is out now on Dirty Hit Records.