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CD: Wolf Alice - Visions of a Life | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Wolf Alice - Visions of a Life

CD: Wolf Alice - Visions of a Life

Second album from Brit indie sensations delivers a likeable range of kicks

Visions of 4AD Records circa 1986

London indie-rockers Wolf Alice’s debut album, My Love Is Cool, made it to no 2 in the charts a couple of years back. It was a bona fide success story and a rare thing, a gold record for a female-fronted outfit who major in grungey, ambitious post-Pixies rock. It was derivative, but also showed a feisty, admirable willingness not to be pigeonholed, especially on songs such as the ecstatic “Freazy”. Its successor initially seems destined to be even more wide-ranging, to reach headier heights, but then settles, during most of its second half, for being simply a decent album.

Let us not damn Visions of a Life with faint praise, however. There’s real meat to get teeth into. The clanging wooziness of opener “Heavenward” is immediately replaced by the sweary punk smash-up “Yuk Foo”, and then Wolf Alice really show their pop colours with the skanking, Slits-like-yet-polished “Beautifully Unconventional” and the lush “Don’t Delete the Kisses”, which comes on like an electro-pop commingling of Blondie and Franz Ferdinand, with Ellie Rowsell doing a Pet Shop Boys-style rap in the middle.

Her rapping makes a return on the unpredictably brilliant “Sky Musings”, the lyrics for which are literary, modernist, lateral, crafted, and dramatic. The swooping themes of “Planet Hunter” are more briefly and simply cast, an oblique, intriguing, self-repudiating love-life assessment – possibly – while the theatrically building “Formidable Cool” also weaves words with aplomb. Throughout, the ghost of the Cocteau Twins spooks about but never poltergeists.

And that’s it. Apart from the final, enjoyable eight-minute title track blow-out, the latter half of the album indie-coasts along rather forgettably. Never mind. Eight out of twelve songs is a good hit rate. And four of them are corkers! Also, most of Vision of a Life’s intended listeners will quibble less about indie predictability, which makes this an authentic, slightly-left-of-centre success story.

Overleaf: watch the video for "Beautifully Unconventional" by Wolf Alice

Her rapping makes a return on the unpredictably brilliant “Sky Musings”, the lyrics for which are literary, modernist, lateral, crafted, and dramatic

rating

Editor Rating: 
3
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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