Written By Julianne Hatton
Wolf Alice’s sophomore album, titled Visions of a Life, was released Friday, September 29th through RCA Records. Similar to their first album that was released two years ago, it embodies a strange, yet homogenous set of 90’s alt-punk and classic indie-pop of today’s generation. It’s hard to compare Wolf Alice to anyone, since their way of blending the two genres is so unique. This engrossing quality is what sets them apart from just any other old alternative band; they raise the bar for up and coming “indie-punk".
Their first song on the record, called “Heavenward”, is the best way to start off the album. The nostalgia filled song seems like it was taken right out of the climax of some coming-of-age indie film. In this album, it’s hard not to try and find ways to relate it to their first. When thinking of nostalgic Wolf Alice, song off their first record like “Silk” and “Soapy Water” come to mind, but on this album, it’s a more uplifting type of nostalgia, which shows their growth as a band and growth in their mindsets. “Planet Hunter” and “After the Zero Hour” feel similar as well, with “Planet Hunter” bringing in the heavy guitar towards the end and “After the Zero Hour” incorporating an almost full acoustic background.
The combination of lead singer Ellie Rowsell’s softened voice and heavy guitar reminds listeners of their first album, which is something well liked by fans nowadays. If they can feel a connection between albums, but see a band’s growth, fans feel as if they have grown with them, which is something valued in their hearts. Wolf Alice continues to bring a consistent vibe with their music which can be very hard for bands when it comes to their second album. Trying to keep their original style, yet keep up with the ever-so changing trends is difficult, but Wolf Alice mastered the art.
They bring the 90’s punk style back with “Yuk Foo”, “Beautifully Unconventional”, “Formidable Cool”, and their title track, “Visions of a Life”. “Beautifully Unconventional” in particular, contains lead singer Ellie Rowsell’s voice as the usual, muffled tone in the verses, but then stands out alone during the chorus. This interesting style is sort of trend found in both albums. “Formidable Cool” seems to be a song about a girl falling in love with a bad boy, something very relatable to teenage girls, which attracts the appeal even more to the alt-rock scene.
Wolf Alice’s music, typically, contains lyrics that do their best to reiterate feelings Rowsell is having as a millennial. The songs “Don’t Delete The Kisses”, “Sky Musings”, and “St. Purple and Green”, do their best to relate to others. “Don’t Delete the Kisses” shows an extremely understandable approach to a lost love, or starting up a new one. Lyrics that suggest fright, nervousness, and insecurity are something most people feel when regarding love. “Sky Musings” brings in the question of God and religion towards the end, while “St. Purple and Green” talks about Rowsell’s struggles dealing with a death. The music itself suggest and angry feeling towards the passing, although the softness of her voice accompanied by melancholy lyrics suggest her sadness about it. This can go on to show the struggle with understanding one’s emotions. While Wolf Alice continues to grow as a band, it is certain that they will never lose their initial and memorable sound that drew their fanbase in to begin with.