It seems strange to say that Visions Of A Life is only Wolf Alice’s second album, as it seems like they’ve been on our music radars for forever. Their repertoire of singles and EPs earned them an impressive following before they’d even thought about releasing their debut full-length My Love Is Cool, which catapulted them into the public eye. Rather than this being their “sophomore album”, then, as we like to say, Visions Of A Life is just another page in the band’s ever-flourishing book of musical success. Not that they haven’t been trying to build up the hype before the album’s release date, as is the fashion nowadays: the band sent out cryptic postcards to their fans (yours truly included – thanks guys) long before announcing the release of their new album, with what seemed like song titles and lyrics written onto them (we can now confirm that they were).
What has always been fascinating about Wolf Alice is their ability to be both soft and sweet, and loud-as-hell rage machines; they show off this magic power as soon as the album begins, with ethereal opener Heavenward being juxtaposed with the cheekily-titled angry banger Yuk Foo. Having said that, there aren’t as many rage-filled moments on Visions… as we have heard from them previously. This time, it is all concentrated into Yuk Foo, which will no doubt be a new favourite in the mosh pit. Visions… sees Wolf Alice focusing on their atmospheric, cinematic side, with highlights being Planet Hunter with its beautiful builds, as well as the adorable romantic lullaby Don’t Delete The Kisses – two more songs which will come alive on stage. The pace picks up with Formidable Cool and Space And Time, two moments of confident swagger, chugging along in kraut-rock style with a touch of the trademark Wolf Alice angst.
Taking advantage of the space provided for experimentation on a full-length album, Ellie Rowsell once again shows off all aspects of her voice: the angry snarl, the angelic croon, the chants dripping with swagger. She also experiments with a monologue vocal style, heard on Don’t Delete The Kisses as well as Sky Musings, which is pretty much a stream of consciousness set to music, with Rowsell seemingly apologising at one point for her ramblings (“Sorry, I lost myself for a minute”). No surprise if there’s a lot on her mind – Wolf Alice’s journey to stardom has been almost instantaneous.
Ending the album is the self-indulgent, seven-minute Visions Of A Life, which is a veritable celebration of all the styles that Wolf Alice has to offer. On this last song, Rowsell sings: “My journey ends when my heart stops beating”. If this is a line about the band, we can safely say that Wolf Alice aren’t done with us yet. Thank God for that.
Visions Of A Life will be released on the 29th September.