New York – North London quartet Wolf Alice, comprised of Ellie Rowsell, Joel Amey, Joff Oddie and Theo Ellis, officially release their debut LP My Love Is Cool June 23rd on Dirty Hit Records. The album is highly anticipated after the release of several EPs, international tours (read a review of their recent Austin gig covered by BestNewBands here) and festival appearances since the band debuted their first single in 2013,. Subsequently, the band has received an impressive amount of publicity and accolades surrounding their versatile take on grunge pop.
The album, My Love Is Cool, features recently premiered singles “Giant Peach” and “You’re A Germ”, as well as older fan favourites “Bros” and “Moaning Lisa Smile”. The latter two remain inspired showcases of the band’s past affinity for edgy indie pop. However, the album as a whole sees a departure from the genre, striving instead for a loftier and more demanding sound, while still retaining pitch perfect stadium ready choruses. “Your Love’s Whore” is an example of this balance, diverging between radio friendly lyrics (“keep me hardly breathing / but, I could only love you more”), instilled by the haunting echoes of Rowsell’s vocals, and a beautifully crafted instrumental.
Lyrically, Rowsell does manage to articulate some real gems. “You’re going to look at me twice, it’s eventual / I’m smoking your menthols / and I will make you ruin some time” she puts eloquently in “Lisbon”. An intentional nod to the LP’s title, which seems to both acknowledge many elements of a thoroughly modern love affair, can be heard in “Silk” (“if you love me don’t tell me / no one wants to feel the same”), both recognizing emotion and brushing it aside in one go.
The LP’s awareness and attention to an oddly complementary discord ensures that no two tracks impart too much of the same thing, while each individually engage the listener with something new to say. This confidence in attempting something new and different is articulated on “Freazy”, a statement of independence and assurance that Wolf Alice have found their footing with lines like “you can hate us all you want / but it don’t mean nothing at all / you can join us if you think you’re worth” alongside soaring melodies and hooks which convey more surprising shifts in direction.
Even on the LP’s acoustic number “Swallowtail”, the unexpected male vocals provide a delicate new take that further underlines the evolving bag of tricks Wolf Alice has up their sleeve (look no further than the swirling synths introducing “Soapy Water”, another genre-defying track). However, the band never quite leaves behind the eerie trademark that augments all of their songs. Even in their most emotive moments they never lose sight of the tough and determined edge that has brought them fans across genres and is a testament to their resounding emergence as a mainstay in the often fickle London scene where there’s always another band of the moment.
Perhaps one of the most stunning moments comes in the closing track “The Wonderwhy”, where Rowsell flatly asks “what happens when we die?” culminating in a startling commentary on the rapidly accelerating world and uncertainty faced by many caught in the midst of it. “Don’t leave me here” she implores, draped over a synthetic beat quite in contrast to the rough guitars that dominate most of the album. “I’m just angry all the time”, Rowsell admits in a quiet, B-side acoustic sounding last minute of the hidden track, “teach me rock n roll”. If there’s any hope and consolation for London and the future and meaning of music within it, perhaps in this ultimate track Wolf Alice has nailed it.
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