What does it sound like?:
Just before the end-of-year polls cap it all why don’t we try and rescue a few notable releases from the ‘mentioned in dispatches’ pile. So, kicking up a little bit of a storm, here’s the second album from Zeitgeist-botherers Wolf Alice for your consideration.
The WA sound does not exactly emerge like a strange fish from some uncharted musical ocean. I lost track of bands that came to mind in listening to this album but here’s a go: Curve, Throwing Muses, All About Eve, The Mission, Cocteau Twins, Kitchens of Distinction, This Mortal Coil, even a touch of Spacemen 3 and revivalists like Ballet School (second album from them would be very welcome).
First track Heavenward (a completely nineties title) sets out the stall with soaring vocals, chiming guitars and a straight-ahead driving (Driving That Fast indeed) 4/4 rhythm. Yuk Foo adds a bit more crunch to the guitars, more yelp to the vocals. By Beautifully Unconventional we have a bit more attitude and lyrical content, it’s a track that will ‘speak’ to anyone at Sixth Form College. Don’t Delete the Kisses – most keyboardy so far. Fifth track Planet Hunter (which returns to the goth-lite sound world of the opener) consistutes the last of a trio of tracks that are the lyrical core of vocalist Ellie Roswell’s world: one in which she is inviting someone out, sending text messages about things which were only ever going to go wrong, asking someone to delete them, while being aware that is completely cliched behaviour.
The second half of the album can’t quite sustain the momentum of the first, but finds time to revisit the Cocteaus 90s sound in St Purple and St Green and check the box marked ‘skippable acoustic ballad’ before the epic title track closer (putting your title track last, and making it twice as long as anything else on the album is a statement). Unfortunately it’s a sludgy trashy mess that ditches all the nimble footwork of the rest of the album to Rock Out. Don’t let this dissuade you from the very good work that’s gone on before.
What does it all *mean*?
WA are nobody over twenty-five’s idea of an original band. But just like The Libertines invented a folkier Clash for the naughties, they are making a pretty good stab at the relevant rock band for their generation. If I was 18 they would be speaking to me. Clearly they don’t, but their songwriting is sturdy enough and their rifling through rock’s back pages varied enough, to offer up musical enjoyment for a much wider age-range.
Goes well with…
Looking at your mobile. Having to get the last bus. Going for a job interview.
Might suit people who like…