In the past few years, Wolf Alice have gotten better and better. After making their mark with 2015’s My Love Is Cool, the Camden four piece have become festival favourites with an enormous live sound. But could they produce an equally poignant second album? Of course they could. Visions of a Life not only surpassed expectations, it certified Wolf Alice as one of the best bands in the world.
10 – Sky Musings
The haunting sixth track from Visions of a Life. The lyrics seem to tell us of unspoken worries and anxieties surrounding love and relationships; “now I think of all the people I’ve cared for, did love pass me by when I had feelings I was scared of?” The panicked nature of the lyrics could relate to the flying itself and how you’re not really in one place or another, hence the lyrics “I’ll float forever in the interim”. This track adds a darker tone to the album, a chilling listen.
9 – Blush
A track the casual Wolf Al listener may not be familiar with. Blush features on the deluxe version of My Love is Cool after being released in 2013 also on the Blush EP. It’s a super pretty track which takes the band down a fair few notches, whilst keeping their signature electric sound and throwing in some beautifully penned lyrics. The perfect recipe for a tear jerker.
8 – Formidable Cool
Inspired by the novel ‘The Girls’ by Emma Cline, in which a young teen falls in love with a Manson-like cult. Formidable Cool tells of, what sounds to me, like the local sleazeball with slightly psychopathic tendencies. Drawn in by good looks to only find a lack of emotion and a habit of breaking hearts “to heal the wounds you had, and not to open any more, but that’s all he fucking did, when he fucked you on the floor!”. The track has a really funky bass line to coincide with the more sinister theme of the lyrics, it makes for a really solid addition to Visions of a Life.
7 – Don’t Delete The Kisses
The standout track from Visions of a Life in regards to songwriting. The lyrics are witty, playful, and relateable. “I look at your picture and I smile. How awful is that? I’m like a teenage girl, I may as well write all over my notebook that you ‘rock my world!'”. More playful lyrics like this combine with the ones that portray the main message of the track, the process of going from being frightened of falling in love to embracing it and all those little cliches that come with it, a wonderfully written track which is held close to many fans’ hearts.
6 – Bros
Bros is a song all about your best friend. From haircut mishaps to getting each other through hard times, it’s all there in the lyrics. I love that Wolf Alice steer away from always writing about love and romantic relationships which can sometimes seem like a safe theme for a lot of bands. All Wolf Alice’s songs are written by the band themselves; Ellie, Theo, Joff and Joel and they excel at it. Bros sounds best live with your best pal next to you (trust me).
5 – Yuk Foo
After some time away, this was Wolf Alice’s first release from Visions of a Life and oh my life they came back with a big fat smack in the face of a track. As the title suggests, it’s the ultimate ‘fuck you’ and one of the bands heaviest releases to date. Punchy, abrasive and loud, chaos guaranteed.
4 – You’re A Germ
A Wolf Al classic. One of the heavier tracks from My Love is Cool that showcases their self described grunge-folk genre perfectly. The video captures the fun side of the song, parodying The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and directed by Chris Grieder. You’re a Germ also really showcases Ellie Rowsell’s incredible voice, going from deeper vocals in the verses to some signature tasteful screeching by the end of the track. Superb stuff.
3 – Silk
Having recently appeared on the T2: Trainspotting soundtrack, Silk is one of the bands most well loved tracks. It has an ethereal, cinematic sound and is mesmerising live, particularly on their last tour where the set included a giant glitter ball. Many interpret Silk to be about love going wrong, and the effects it can have on someones mental state; “it’s such a shame, she used to be so delightful”. Despite the downcast themes, Silk is set to stand the test of time.
2 – Visions of a Life
The title track of the most recent release, it’s Wolf Alice’s most ambitious song so far at almost eight minutes long. For me, these are the most powerful lyrics from the band yet; “why do I feel so strange? a nuclear family and friends my own age. I follow the rules do what it says on the tin, but i’m still on the outside still looking in”. I feel this track could be a touch on mental illness too. When the album was first released Ellie Rowsell said the lyrics “I heard that journeys end in lovers meeting” was lifted from Shakespeare, and she added “but my journey ends when my heart stops beating” as she thought the concept was quite depressing.
1 – Giant Peach
This was the first track that really got people talking about Wolf Alice. It got a lot of radio play and people really started to get excited about what this band was capable of. It captures Wolf Alice’s sound perfectly, it’s grungy and punchy and showcases Ellie’s spine-tingling screaming capabilities. The lyrics talk of escapism and wanting to break out of normality; “what the hell keeps me here? in this dark old town that i’ve adored”. Currently this is the final song in their set because it electrifies the room like nothing else, and that’s what has bagged Giant Peach the number one spot.