Wolf Alice

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My Love Is Cool (2015), 5/10
Visions of a Life (2017), 6/10
Blue Weekend (2021), 4.5/10

English quartet Wolf Alice, formed by Ellie Rowsell and guitarist Joff Oddie with the later additions of bassist Theo Ellis and drummer Joel Amey, debuted with the singles Fluffy (2013) and Bros (2013), clearly an imitation of the The Cranberries, followed by the EPs Blush (2013) and Creature Songs (2014).

My Love Is Cool (2015), produced by Mike Crossey (Arctic Monkeys' main producer), contains the virulent power-ballad Moaning Lisa Smile and the hard-rocking Giant Peach, but also the the Pink Floyd-ian shoegazing litany Swallowtail and the pensive ballad Silk. The singer's voice towers in the simple and spartan elegy Turn to Dust. Lisbon turns from hypnotic into explosive. Overall, however, this is a confused album from a band that is more posture than substance.

The mood of Visions of a Life (2017), produced by Justin Meldal-Johnsen (Beck's musical director), again runs the gamut from the melancholy, whispered, quasi-rapped Don't Delete the Kisses to the punk-rock of Yuk Foo, from the magniloquent King Crimson-ian ballad Planet Hunter to the syncopated soul-rock of Beautifully Unconventional, fromn the soaring dream-pop of Heavenward to the pounding and bombastic Space & Time. The eight-minute Visions of a Life is a shorter representation of the eclectism of the album as a whole, ranging from Pink Floyd-ian psychedelic languor to hysterical riot-grrrl eruptions, from prog-rock atmosphere to a stately quasi-operatic hymn. The highlight is possibly the Indian-esque litany Sadboy that begins a hypnotic liturgy and ends as a neurotic nightmare. There is generally more consistency and more competence than in the debut album.

Blue Weekend (2021), produced by Brian Eno's disciple Markus Dravs (Arcade Fire, Coldplay), veered towards the ethereal and baroque pop of latter-day Fleetwood Mac with the danceable ballad How Can I Make It OK? and the solemn hymn-like The Last Man On Earth. It contains mostly monotonous repetitions of the same idea (languid balladry), but also Safe from Heartbreak and Lipstick on the Glass, which mark the first time since Turn to Dust that Rowsell invests seriously in her voice, and another tribute to the riot-grrrls, the punk abrasion of Play the Greatest Hits.

(Copyright © 2021 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )
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