By Bryony Holdsworth
The four piece alt-rock band from North London have released their second studio album just two years after their critically acclaimed debut My Love Is Cool. It’s difficult to distinguish a true sound for Wolf Alice, each song moving fluidly along a spectrum of ethereal rock and 90s grunge. Visions of a Life is a dark and dangerous album, successfully encapsulating the raw emotional spectrum of adolescent life.
Ellie Rowsell’s voice blends with the musical accompaniment in opening track ‘Heavenward’ to create a hazy, shoegaze number embellished by rolling guitars and isolated drum beats. The blurring of musical components mutates unexpectedly into ‘Yuk Foo’, a snarling extension of the track ‘You’re a Germ’ from their debut. Rowsell’s guttural vocals screech to an abrupt, rage induced climax, leaving you bewildered in the wake of her blistering fury.
Visions of a Life reaches cosmological heights, with track titles ‘Sky Musings’, ‘Planet Hunter’ and ‘Space and Time’ following an astronomical pattern. ‘Sky Musings’ orbits and flickers around uncertainty and existential dread: “Life seems so confusing / Fear inducing / Tears producing”, the stilted lyrics portraying static digressions of thought. Rowsell’s voice never lifts above an emotionally charged whisper, matching the song’s menacing mood.
‘Formidable Cool’ is a twisted juggernaut, an impressive feat of swirling vocals and thundering guitars. Its luscious groove drips with lust and youthful naivety, and yet this is quickly followed by the cooling number ‘Space and Time’. Visions of a Life will infect you with its merciless destruction, only to also provide the antidote to the poison.