Yesterday Wolf Alice played at Glastonbury Festival’s Park stage, showcasing songs from their new album ‘My Love is Cool’. Tash Keary tells you what we think of their debut full length LP.
Appearing on the front cover of NME with the prediction that ‘they’re gonna be big’, billed as Radio One’s Hottest Record of the Week twice, and already receiving countless positive reviews for their debut album, Wolf Alice are going for the jugular of the alternative rock scene.
My Love is Cool is the quenching collection of London four piece’s run up to this point, following a promising 5 year stint of EP’s, biting singles, eccentric music videos, and sharp live performances.
It is surprising, then, that the album does not include some of the most defining songs from their back catalogue: milestone tracks Moaning Lisa Smile, She, and Blush don’t make the cut, having been deemed by the band to have already ‘lived their life’ before the making of the album. Instead, revitalised versions of singles Bros and Fluffy are the lone representations of the band’s storm to popularity thus far. These, along with Giant Peach, lead the album towards a familiar robust and frantic wolf-call, highly reminiscent of the earlier Blush EP.
However, the exclusion of these older tracks is only testament to the quality of the band’s newest throaty creations. Taking these previous released singles out of the equation is where My Love is Cool packs the most ingenuity: the album features the softer underbelly of Wolf Alice’s sound, which detours from the familiar rock ground into folk, synth pop, and hip hop.
Exemplifying this is album topper Turn to Dust, which establishes the malleability of the Wolf Alice sound from the very beginning of the album. Punky Wolfian frenzy is hinted at in the opening chords, only to be stifled under a sparse folk guise, paired with striped back drums and lead singer Ellie Rowsell’s Fleet Foxes style harmonies.
The transition from this to claws-out indie rock Bros is almost whiplash inducing, a not unfamiliar sensation throughout the rest of the album: again in the transition from Soapy Water – a detour into gentle synth pop – to Fluffy, a feverish indie-rock firecracker. The album is in constant fluctuation between mellow electronics and synths, and raw guitars and drums, something which adds authenticity to the album whilst maintaining its contemporary standing.
Drummer Joel takes the lead vocals for Swallowtail, another of the band’s softer and folk reminiscent tracks, providing a gentle reminder that Wolf Alice’s experimentation phase is still very much alive. His restrained tone punctuates the album nicely – a welcome, but not necessarily needed, break from Ellie’s consistently punchy vocals.
My Love is Cool may be the first Wolfian venture into the album world, but it is far from an amateur test run. As a result of their diverse and explorative sound the album is as much of a deconstruction of the Wolf Alice entity as it is a construction – something which gives the band the reputation, in bassist Theo’s own words, of being ‘incapable of being pigeonholed’. In its quieter moments a pace toward Haim or Lorde in its indie-pop sound and in its loudest a throaty rock resuscitation, My Love is Cool is ultimately a testament against any claim that Wolf Alice are a two dimensional power chord and loud drums outfit. A well-rounded and exciting compilation, from a well-rounded and exciting band.