Visions of Life
Liberator Music/Dirty Hit
There is a remarkable versatility when it comes to the sound of Wolf Alice. In many ways, Visions Of A Life feels like it picks up from where debut album My Love Is Cool left off – signifying a smooth development in the journey of Wolf Alice as a band.
At times liltingly emotional and others mischievously tenacious, Visions Of A Life can move seamlessly between an emotional ballad and a rebellious rock chant. It’s this emotional versatility the physiological chameleons in Wolf Alice strive for that really sells the band.
Often emotional dissonance in a record can make it feel incoherent, even messy or muddled. But Visions Of A Life sticks with the common thread of really cool alt-rock, so when the tides turn between tracks, that enticing lo-fi feel brings you back to reality to enjoy the next torrent of sweet alt-rock.
The opening demonstrates this with the lurch in sound between Heavenward and Yuk Foo. Heavenward acts as an explosive shoegaze opener, with long sustained guitar chords and reverb, before Yuk Foo traverses dirty punk territory that wreaks defiance. The same can be said with Beautifully Unconventional, a snappy, funked out ditty flowing on to latest single Don’t Delete The Kisses, the emotional heavyweight of the album.
A lot of this can be attributed to distinct changes frontwoman Ellie Rowsell’s vocals make across the album, whether it’s quiet whispers in Sky Musings or punkish wales of Yuk Foo. Often the album gravitates to where Rowsell’s journey tonally moving between sombre contemplation and sharp, sarcastic observation.
Eponymous track Visions of Life finishes of the LP in a pleasing swansong. The seven minute track opens with rustic guitars, then Rowsell’s wispy vocals that slowly turn into a gale of vindictive punk infused with emotional reflection, topping off the record nicely.
For a band that made an impressive first entry with My Love Is Cool, Visions Of A Life is an impressive follow up. Wolf Alice have comfortably moved forward on their second try after a first successful album, without pushing the stylistic envelope so far as to alienate fans. It’s a record for those already familiar with the band to enjoy and newcomers to appreciate. Visions Of A Life is a really nicely made alt-rock record.