Blue Weekend is the portrait Wolf Alice has been painting and the story they’ve been crafting since the beginning. Starting with the illusory grit of My Love Is Cool, continuing via the hazy obscurity of Mercury Prize-winning Vision of a Life, and coming to fruition on the nightscape neon noir of Blue Weekend. The third time around, the scope is more enormous, the sounds more profound, the setting palpable.
Blue Weekend plays like a 35mm film projected on the big screen. The textures are tactile, the sounds dance like images across light, and Ellie Rowsell voice is the actor whose performance dominates the foreground. Opening with the rattling jolt of ‘The Beach’, Wolf Alice do what they do best. Creating a mood that informs the atmosphere rather than the other way around, the song alludes to the great depths ahead.
From a slow burn to all-encompassing in two minutes, Blue Weekend is an album of dreamlike contrasts. Never engulfed by the production’s soundscape sculpting, the intricate songwriting of ‘Delicious Things’ melds deftly within the world of Blue Weekend. This allows the spikier elements of Wolf Alice to have an impact. Lyrics like “Don’t call me mad. There’s a difference, I’m angry, and your choice to call me cute has offended me.” are clear and precise inside the angular fuzz of ‘Smile’. This is immediately followed by the dynamic brake of ‘Safe From Heartbreak (if you ever fall in love)’ and glistened pops and clicks of ‘How Can I Make It OK’. Working to establish the dream-pop undercurrent that lays beneath and tidal turbulence above.
However, ‘The Last Man On Earth’ is the zenith. Blending the sonic and thematic themes of Blue Weekend, ‘The Last Man On Earth’ is bold, dramatic and essential. A high point in an album filled with stiff competition. Wolf Alice deliver their best song to date around their most evocative songwriting, as Rowsell delicately sings, “Who are you to ask for anything more? Do you wait for your dancing lessons to be sent from God?”.
And so it goes, Blue Weekend is an album alive with high-stylised, widescreen scenes for Wolf Alice to perform within. From neon-lit flourishes to the buzzing foreground and moments of found repose, the record is as vivid as it is diverse. While Blue Weekend feels every bit like the natural progression to Visions of Life, Wolf Alice swing for the fences with a sonic milieu that is both bold and brilliant but never outshines the meaning. This is an essential element; it’s the meaning that connected Wolf Alice to their audience in the past. Like a movie screened in 35mm before a darkened cinema, the meaning of Blue Weekend is clear in the dialogue, and the medium feels just as real.