Wolf Alice may have began life as folk starlets, but after catching the attention of BBC Introducing in 2012, the young four-piece have grown from morning songbirds to soaring raptors. Since their early EPs, the band have been painting themselves in the colours of grunge, electronica and indie to create an enthralling palette of musical textures.
It’s no surprise that for a group who began life with folkier-tinged intentions, their debut record, My Love Is Cool, skips from moments of serenity to savagery with ease. It will be a challenge to find a more exhilarating set of opening tracks on a record this year. If the album starts as delicate dinner party accompaniment, it slowly descends into chaos with a six-song sequence that bewitches, excites and might even put hairs on your chest.
Beginning with the dark and mesmerising Turns to Dust, Wolf Alice combine swooping sirens and programmed beats with the menacing refrain of “Keep your beady eyes on me, to make sure I don’t turn to dust”. It’s a trip to wonderland via New York’s 1960’s folk scene and lulls you into a false sense of security if you think the album will continue in a similar laidback style. From the opening seconds of summer anthem Bros you’re jolted from your trance and desperately grabbing for the seat belt – it’s going to a bumpy ride.
Next to the party is Your Loves Whore, a raucous number which combines dingy riffs with punch the sky vocals, leading nicely to album highlight You’re A Germ. To continue my dinner party analogy, this is certainly when the food fight would break out. An ode to the Grunge reinvention made thrillingly relevant for the kids of 2015, it will make a fitting centerpiece to upcoming festival dates.
The album certainly packs a punch for the unassuming four piece and it’s often the combination of Ellie Rowsell’s angelic vocals meshed with ferocious guitars that pulls the listener in. When she sings “I feel like going out and smashing windows” during Lisbon, she has such a ‘butter wouldn’t melt’ sound to her vocals that you’re happy to give her your blessing to her vandalism desires. After a frantic quartet of songs, next track Silk plays on more hushed and atmospheric elements, which could certainly resonate with followers of The XX. Lyrically, the track contains a fascinating clash of words as Ellie argues with herself and shows the band’s ability to grab you by the scruff of the neck, even when they put down their guitars.
As the album grows older, the moments of brilliance become more sporadic, but Wolf Alice have a youthful passion that pushes them forward, meaning they’re never far away from turning a pair of cards into a full house. When drummer Joel Amey takes to the mic on Swallowtail, it doesn’t burn as bright, but the band’s attempts to delve into different directions is a good indicator towards a promising future.
My Love is Cool is a record overflowing with vim, vigour and vitality. It is propelled forward by the captivating presence of Rowsell, who has the ability to bottle the essence of growing up in strange and unpredictable 21st Century Britain and serve it up to the masses in scintillating shots. Wolf Alice might like living in the moment, but on this evidence they’ll be capturing the zeitgeist for a few more years yet.
‘My Love Is Cool’ is out now on Dirty Hit
The full track-listing for ‘My Love Is Cool’ is as follows…
‘Turn to Dust’
‘Your Loves Whore’
‘You’re a Germ’
‘The Wonderwhy’ – Hidden Track
You can see Wolf Alice at one of the following venues…
16th September 2015 – Bristol Academy, Bristol TICKETS
17th September 2015 – Birmingham Institute, Birmingham TICKETS
19th September 2015 – Glasgow ABC, Glasgow TICKETS
21st September 2015 – Newcastle University, Newcastle TICKETS
22nd September 2015 – Sheffield Plug, Sheffield TICKETS
23rd September 2015 – Guildhall, Southampton TICKETS
25th September 2015 – Manchester Albert Hall, Manchester TICKETS
26th September 2015 – Brixton Academy, London TICKETS
18th November 2015 – Bontanique – Rotonde, Brussels TICKETS