By Mark McConville
To charge for greatness in an ultimate feat, a stride beyond the norm, a magical trip down a road paved with gold. Wolf Alice is the band who are charging and delivering diverse music, marching for grace and comfort, naturally utilising their talents as a unit and creating intense moments. Through art these moments are made, as the members of Wolf Alice place their hands on a prize worth fighting for, to be a band worthy of such acclaim.
And it’s always said that bands usually falter when creating their second record. They’re doomed they say, they won’t ever reach the heights of a brilliant first album they say, but on the evidence of Visions Of A Life, Wolf Alice can assure themselves that they have delightfully assembled songs which are a mark of a band in complete control.
The band’s debut record My Love Is Cool was a grand opening to a fable of darkness and pessimism, a storyline covering a wide range of topics. Lead singer and guitarist Ellie Roswell sang about losing her way and striding towards oblivion, but she latched onto life by bellowing out, snatching it from the teeth of doom. And Bros was the definitive song on My Love Is Cool, a track signifying a rush of hopelessness. Lovers and traitors come under the scope. Roswell’s voice is subtle, but her urgent pleas are far from being soft.
Roswell is an enigmatic songwriter. She writes fearless poetry, words which cut through the bullshit, and on Visions Of A Life, her wordplay sticks out like thorns, and is predominant and relevant. She also drags her mind through war at times, a battlefield studded with snapshots of her past. It can be sincere but harrowing listen. And Visions Of A Life triggers the emotions. It manages to put you in a place of delight, but it can also make you think about your own life. It’s one of those records which compels you think straight and to view your existence in a new light.
It’s unlike anything that’s been done before. It may be an audacious statement putting Wolf Alice’s second record up there on the pedestal amongst gems. But, it is a brilliant compendium of cut throat drama and fearlessness. It’s sorely needed, this type of organic, raw sound which flutters beyond a normal beat. Roswell drops her beautiful, angelic, vocals into songs of grace, and then lifts them when the blistering vibe is needed.
All the songs on Visions Of A Life are fresh and relevant. They trigger and resonate. Beautiful Unconventional is a track which showcases Roswell’s voice perfectly, and the subject matter drips around a girl she dislikes. Someone who is a walking contradiction, a woman unconventional and trapped in a bout of disenchantment. ‘You’re a walking contradiction, Cute with such conviction, But dark as the Devil who walks And as loyal as a stalker who stalks’ these words showcase depth and an storyline captivating in its execution.
Don’t Delete The Kisses is a storming piece of magic. It’s subtle, but imaginative. Roswell sings with confidence and self-assurance. The chorus jumps upon the mind, stamping its authority. Love is being smashed into pieces before the eyes of an estranged girl. ‘What If It’s Not Meant For Me Love?’
Sky Musings conveys a sense of paranoia. Roswell sings quickly, quietly, serving up a song that is captivating and somewhat haunting. ‘How high do planes fly?,40.000 feet in the sky’s how high, Is it the pressure ‘cause I’m out of my mind, I compress like a rocket ship making me high’ these lyrics demonstrate bluntness, they tell a story of a girl drugged by life’s drama, a woman marred by mental dismay.
Visions Of A Life concludes the album. It lasts for over 7 minutes. It’s bold and the guitar structure is intense. It begins softly, but falls into a blast of pure adrenaline rock. These words sum up the whole record ‘I dream of death, its violent breath, I’m caught with my maker in step. Fear of crashing and not coming back, I could bleach clean my soul but he knows I know I’m coming to dine in his hole, Fear of crashing and not coming back’ they’re timeless words that showcase a girl craving to end the anxieties which latch onto life’s underbelly.
Visions Of A Life is a wonderful record. An album executed with power and perseverance. It’s different and conceptual, but not so vibrant. Who needs radiance when this pessimistic sound works so well?
Clarity overcomes the fuzziness,