The Last Mixed Tape reviews Visions of Life, the much anticipated sophomore album from Wolf Alice.
Whatever its faults are, Visions of Life is an album without a filter. There is no wall between us the listener and Wolf Alice themselves, either sonically or lyrically. Filled with angst, building with rage or distant sounds, the group hold nothing back. Everything has been put to record, everything is communicated.
Lulled into a false sense of security by the texturally deep opener ‘Heavenward’, Wolf Alice immediately twist Visions of Life into something heavier, harder to ignore. The defiant ‘Yuk Foo’ crushes the dream-pop elements of the album’s opener into a punkish growl, which soon gives way to Wolf Alice’s more characteristic sound on ‘Beautifully Unconventional’.
In the space of three tracks, we’re given three very different sides to both Wolf Alice the band and Visions of Life the album. This would normally make a record feel disconnected or even give the impression that the band was attempting to please too many people by simply providing everything at once. However, the further you delve into Visions of Life the more the changing moods make sense.
Indeed, that seems to be the trick in the tail found within Wolf Alice’s seconding outing. While many bands run out of things to say on their sophomore album or just repeat themselves, Wolfe Alice sounds like a band that has a lot they wish to convey. The key to this is the groups unique take the indie milieu which has expanded since 2015’s My Love Is Cool, and Ellie Rowsell forthright songwriting. Without which the album could come off as uneven.
“I’m typing you a message. That I know I’ll never send. Rewriting old excuses. Delete the kisses at the end.” whispers Rowsell during the conversational and self-assessing ‘Don’t Delete The Kisses’. A real and relatable lyric punctuated by the building bluster of the choruses and uneasy persistence of the track’s pulsing beat. All of which is built around the band’s ability to create drama and tension texturally. It’s this central emotional core that ties Visions of Life together, Rowsell never sounds as if she’s merely going through the motions and the band hangs on her every word.
More than meeting the expectations set in their breakthrough debut, Wolf Alice have proved themselves to be something more. Growing as a unit, and delivering a captivatingly twist-filled journey into depth and expanse of their music. Visions of Life has pure indie if you want it, and meaning if you look for it.
Visions of Life by Wolf Alice is out now.