It seems like we’ve been waiting for a Wolf Alice record forever. After a number of EP and single releases, Ellie Rowsell and co. have finally walked out of the recording studio holding a full length album in their hands, ready to tear rock music a new one.
But with great excitement comes a sense of fear too: seldom do bands have as much buzz around them than Wolf Alice do. As such, there is perhaps a lot riding on the London four piece and their first LP.
Rather than bursting through the front door with a no holds bar rock and roll anthem, Wolf Alice’s ‘My Love Is Cool’ starts slowly with the dulcet ‘Turn To Dust’, before dazzling into ‘Bros’, a song Wolf Alice fans will no well. “Take your beady eyes off me, to make sure I don’t turn to dust”whispers Rowsell, over a tonic of electronic percussion and shimmering guitar arpeggios. The coupling of these two tracks, if anything, underscores the melodic drives that screws together the nuts and bolts of their dynamic sound. The other side of the coin signals tracks like ‘Lisbon’and ‘Fluffy’, two songs that harness the band’s raw energy and ferocious rock and roll ethos. They are both grungy, captivating and bursting at the seams with cool.
In that very fashion, the vigorous driving bass lines and power chords of ‘Your Loves Whore’carries the album forward. It’s a love song entrenched in sad harmonies and lyrics, as Rowsell whispers “And when we grow older, we’ll still be friends, we’ll could still be lovers” through the picked chorus. A real head banger of a track, it crescendos into explosive life in the final chorus, as the band chime together “Keep me hardly breathing, but I can only love you more” repeatedly.
“A sign that the band’s transition from EP recording to LP recording has been nothing short of natural. Not too miserable, but not cringingly hopeful either, Wolf Alice are striking a balance in songwriting.”
Not merely content on penning anthem after anthem, the substance of ‘My Love Is Cool’ is a heartfelt and angry one. The beating synths and drums of ‘Silk’ is dressed in a dark costume of youthful moodiness. A more prominent bass line keeps the band in check, and Roswell burning lyrics continue to grow from embers to roaring fires. As arguably the record’s stand out track and midway, ‘Silk’ pays testament to the band’s versatile style.
Whilst the public have been fed anthem after anthem in terms of singles, Wolf Alice have turned their vehement sound into something much more visceral and intimate. Unlike a number of rock albums released this year, ‘My Love Is Cool’ doesn’t bark on about anything in particular; it’s not trying to make a “ooh, look at the world we live in” statement. Instead, it takes the essence of songwriting and amplifies it into something much bigger, and much more meaningful.
As mentioned, whilst the album captures examples of Wolf Alice’s brutal guitar handy-work, as shown on the heavy ‘Giant Peach’, the LP is much more stripped back than some may have expected. The focus is really on the melodies, as demonstrated by the poppy ‘Freazy’. Likewise, the mainly acoustic ‘Swallowtail’ is a ballad that conjures up noticeable influences of band’s like ‘Gish’-era Smashing Pumpkins, and My Bloody Valentine, before tailing off into an onslaught of punky guitars. Overall, ‘My Love Is Cool’ has most of everything you can think an album should have: potency, catchy tunes and something to ponder over.
Rather than saying something ironic about the world we live in, moaning on about things that barely matter or teetering on the edge with despair, Wolf Alice have produced one of the records of the year so far. Armed with a sound that gives you a lot without leading you on, ‘My Love Is Cool’ is a mammoth of a record that fills your head with songs that you’ll be humming for days. There is no surprise that this album has peaked at number one in the charts. Let me tell you, Wolf Alice’s love is cool. Very, very cool.
Wolf Alice’s album ‘My Love Is Cool’ is available to download from iTunes here.
For Fortitude Magazine: http://www.fortitudemagazine.co.uk/music/alt-indie/album-review-wolf-alice-love-cool/25673/