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Wolf Alice - Visions of a Life (Album Review)

Thursday, 05 October 2017 Written by Graeme Marsh

By the time their debut, ‘My Love is Cool’, picked up a nomination for the Mercury Prize, Wolf Alice had already displayed their aptitude in a plethora of styles and variations on their sound. Sophomore effort ‘Visions of a Life’ continues to do so, but this time their eclecticism spreads even further.

Lead single Yuk Foo gave an inkling of what lay ahead. A raucous, expletive-laden two-minute punk spat, it’s a shot of venomous angst that makes Johnny Rotten’s lyrics sound like those of a Saint. Contrastingly, the LP’s penultimate track, After The Zero Hour, recalls Turn To Dust, the All About Eve-like opener from ‘My Love is Cool’. Except this time it’s even more chilled.

That, in a nutshell, is where ‘Visions of a Life’ sits: lurching from one end of the spectrum to the other. It’s a more difficult listen than its predecessor and one bereft of a clear direction. The songs are not quite as strong as before, either.

Bouncy cut Beautifully Unconventional does little to shine, while the fragmented Sadboy sees frequent changes in pace interrupting its flow. The cacophonous power of St Purple and Green, meanwhile, is interspersed with dreamy verses, changing route halfway through and ending up confused.

The eight minute title track closes the album and strikes out for epic ground, with an impressive riff its highlight, but disappointingly its tonal shifts only amount to something frustratingly inconsistent.

Sky Musings is also a game of two halves. It takes two minutes for its rapidly spoken, hushed verses to be overtaken by a sense of beauty. The ending does, though, firmly point at what Wolf Alice are now doing better than anything else: moments of ethereal, fuzzed-out bliss.

Opener Heavenward is a celestial delight that recalls Transvision Vamp’s Baby I Don’t Care, while the sugar-coated Don’t Delete The Kisses exists in a bubbly haze that evokes Mazzy Star. Planet Hunter moves from soft strumming to shimmering bursts of shoegaze splendour in the style of Slowdive. In among these sublime cuts sits Space & Time, an irresistibly frantic number that sounds like a Six.by Seven track given an adrenalin shot.

‘Visions of a Life’ is like the continuous expansion of the universe. With elements moving further away in many different directions, it becomes increasingly difficult to pinpoint the core. It’s the sound of a band not so much lacking an identity as struggling to settle on one of many. Wolf Alice are destined to be one of the UK’s best bands, but how quickly they achieve that status will ultimately rest on honing in on their clear strengths.

Wolf Alice Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Wed November 08 2017 - BRISTOL O2 Academy Bristol
Thu November 09 2017 - MANCHESTER O2 Apollo
Sat November 11 2017 - GLASGOW Barrowland
Sun November 12 2017 - GLASGOW Barrowland
Mon November 13 2017 - NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE O2 Academy Newcastle
Wed November 15 2017 - NOTTINGHAM Rock City
Thu November 16 2017 - BIRMINGHAM O2 Academy Birmingham
Fri November 17 2017 - NORWICH Norwich Nick Rayns LCR UEA
Sat November 18 2017 - LEEDS O2 Academy Leeds
Mon November 20 2017 - BRIGHTON Brighton Dome
Tue November 21 2017 - SOUTHAMPTON O2 Guildhall Southampton
Thu November 23 2017 - KINGSTON UPON THAMES New Slang
Fri November 24 2017 - LONDON Alexandra Palace
Mon November 27 2017 - BELFAST Ulster Hall Belfast
Tue November 28 2017 - DUBLIN Olympia

Click here to compare & buy Wolf Alice Tickets at Stereoboard.com.

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