Review by Andy Houghton for MPM
Wolf Alice are Ellie Rowsell (vocals and guitar), Joff Oddie (guitar and vocals), Theo Ellis (bass) and Joel Amey (drums and vocals). It has been a decade since the band began as a duo of Ellie and Joff, later expanding to a four-piece with Joel and Theo joining the group.
Since those early days, the band’s progress has been nothing less than stellar. Their 2015 debut album ‘My Love Is Cool’ soared to #2 in the UK album charts, and their sophomore album ‘Visions of a Life’ also reached #2 and won the 2018 Hyundai Mercury Prize.
Expectations have therefore been running high for their latest album, ‘Blue Weekend’. To work on the album the band decamped to an Airbnb in Somerset, where they reconfigured who they were together, far away from festival stages, tour buses, awards shows and fans, before setting to work on some fledgling demos in a converted church.
And the end result does not disappoint. Indeed, far from it: with the release of ‘Blue Weekend’, Wolf Alice have cemented their reputation as one of the most thrilling British bands at work today.
The band have never been afraid to mix genres – from ambient to punk, and indie rock to folk – but in ‘Blue Weekend’ they do so with a boldness that demonstrates a total command over their sound, effortlessly shifting from the folky shoegaze of ‘Safe From Heartbreak (if you never fall in love)’ to the full-on punk of ‘Play the Greatest Hits’, yet all the while making it sound coherent and consistent.
Underlying all of this are polished production values, lending the album an ambitious, cinematic sound that forms a perfect match for the material. When every track is a standout, it seems arbitrary to single out highlights. Nonetheless, the multi-layered brilliance of ‘The Beach II’ (which bookends the album together with ‘The Beach’) makes for a gloriously memorable closing track, while the punchy indie rock of ‘Smile’ is sure to prove a fan favourite when performed live.
Indeed, it’s during ‘Smile’ that Rowsell delivers the line “I am what I am and I’m good at it”. That seems to be a fitting description for Wolf Alice as a whole, a band who have created a truly unique sound that they have made their own, and delivered an album that is nothing less than stunning in its ambition and execution. Highly recommended.
- The Beach
- Delicious Things
- Lipstick on The Glass
- Safe from Heartbreak (if you never fall in love)
- How Can I Make It OK?
- Play the Greatest Hits
- Feeling Myself
- The Last Man on Earth
- No Hard Feelings
- The Beach II
‘Blue Weekend’ is released on June 4th, 2021.
Wolf Alice – No Hard Feelings Blue Weekend – Out Now – http://dirtyh.it/blueweekend