Wolf Alice – Visions of a Life Review 


Wolf Alice’s second album ‘Visions Of Life’ released via Dirty Hit, produced by Justin Meldal-Johnsen (Paramore, Beck, M83) and mixed by Tom Elmhirst (Bowie, Arcade Fire, Adele), is the kind of collection of tracks that transports you into a world of teen drama and existential crisis, while proving that British alternative rock will never surrender.

Opener ‘Heavenward’ soars into life with ethereal guitars and lead singer Ellie Roswell’s delicately building vocal. Feeling rooted in the band’s shoe-gaze era the melody is subtle and dreamy. Drifting and not pounding into being, before a wall of feedback emerges, giving that familiar distorted edge to the tracks mournful tone. 

Though not everything is soft and day-dreamy within this vision of life. ‘Yuk Foo’ is a sharpened teeth punk-edged kick of vengeance. Rosewell’s vocal mixes like hardcore screams against bassist Theo Ellis and drummer Joel Armey’s thundering rhythm. 

Teenage love’s, or at least the idea that a relationship can take you back to that awkward feeling of not quite fitting your own body and not knowing how to really convey your emotions without seeming like a complete mess, is covered within many tracks but perfectly encapsulated in both the swooningly delicate, swirling guitars and pulsing beat of ‘Don’t Delete the Kisses’ and ‘Formidable Cool’s tumbling riffs and savagely howled vocals. 

Tracks like ‘After The Zero Hour’ and ‘Beautifully Unconventional’ continue the embracing of Wolf Alice’s softer, cinematic side. With the latter painting the picture of a partner in crime tale, Ellie Rowsell’s vocal plays with the description of female friendship, while layers of chunky guitars and delicate samples create an utterly captivating track; ‘I long to see (her arms above my soul), I long to be (with her forevermore)’.

Moving from darker rock sounds into softer touches of shoe-gaze 

‘Planet Hunter’ is yet another drifting track that feels laced with 90’s alt-rock subtleties. Telling tales of clouded eyes and failed romances from the morning after the night before as things are lifted so high into orbit you can barely see the earth beneath you; ‘And it was never ever gonna last long, And it was only ever gonna go wrong, And in the morning I only have myself to blame.’  

Ethereal folk mixed with crunching grunge is embraced wholeheartedly in the vibrant and yet delicately whispered ‘St. Purple and Green.’ Even with some almost spoken word phrasing things still remain soaring above the clouds.

Overall ‘Visions Of Life’ is an album that seems to pull together everything Wolf Alice can muster into a bold and expressive statement of intent. Though in places things feel like a continuation of their debut, 2015’s ‘My Love Is Cool’, with barred-teeth electronic folk mixed with grunge shoe-gaze, tracks inevitably show a refinement in the bands sound as exuberant guitars and enticingly raw lyrics propel you into Wolf Alice’s world. 

Wolf Alice – Visions of a Life = 8/10

Hayley Miller

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