Album Review: Wolf Alice – ‘My love is cool’

Wolf Alice
Wolf Alice first turned heads over two years ago and have since released some singles and a couple of EPs whilst slowly readying their debut album. One of these singles, ‘Bros‘ was a huge fan favourite back in 2013, so to say I’ve been looking forward to ‘My love is cool’ for a while is something of an understatement.
So has it been worth the wait?

There has always been a grungy, indie goth element to their sound, but right off the bat ‘My love is cool’ shows just how much Wolf Alice have developed, with more expansive variations than the early recordings suggested. Opening track ‘Turn To Dust’ is melodic, it has a touch of All About Eve vs Pink Floyd but with a modern sound and the sweetly cooed, “keep your beady eyes on me” line conjures feelings of fear and uncertainty.

From this we go straight into a new version of ‘Bros’, which is already a modern Brit-pop indie anthem. You can’t ruin a classic, however I firmly prefer the original two year old single version by a country mile – it’s still just a great song though. The song is a seemingly life affirming song about precious friendships, but there was always an undercurrent to the words, “oh jump at 43, are you wild like me?” supported by the darker arrangement that accompanies it.

‘My love is cool’ is Wolf Alice’s debut album.

‘My love is cool’ is Wolf Alice’s debut album.

You’re A Germ’ adds a much welcome return to grungier dirty guitars, possibly about a leery old rocker leading a school age groupie up the wrong path, who can say? It definitely has a great shouty/sweary chorus and is one of my favourite songs on here. By now the decision to take their time over the debut album (you only get one chance at at it after all) has clearly payed off, this is a collection of timeless genre defying modern rock.

Silk’ is an esoteric floating mood piece that builds into a tight anthemic crescendo, while ‘Freazy’ kicks off the second half off the album and is perhaps the most straightforward pop moment on here yet, driven by a simple drum pattern with intertwining bass lines. Then comes ‘Giant Peach’, first heard earlier this year as the slow build up to the album began, is a tale of struggling to leave the past behind.

Swallowtail’ is a track that stands out in a number of ways, drummer Joel Amey takes the reigns on lead vocals from Ellie Rowsell and it sounds almost like a different band, but then this is what Wolf Alice try to be, undefinable and multi-faceted. As if to prove this ‘Soapy Water’ arrives with yet another flourish of gentle floating balletic pop sound again followed by ‘Fluffy’, which was their first physical release in 2013 and is another great song about leaving childhood and the town you grew up in behind.

Last track proper ‘The Wonderwhy’ has echoes of Bjork’s Sugarcubes, with it’s dreamy interwoven vocal parts and multiplying layers of instrumental tracks. There’s a hidden track too, an under-produced demo sounding guitar and vocal fragment of a song possibly called ‘My Love Is Cool’ that is short and unfinished but gives the album a proper full stop.

So then, Wolf Alice have achieved a memorable debut album, shot through with quality and variety. It’s not going to hit Arctic Monkeys or Oasis levels of debut album sales, which is a shame really as I feel it’s just as deserving. I urge you to check out what’s available of their earlier releases on YouTube while you still can. In fact move quickly and HMV are offering an exclusive edition with a first CD release of last year’s ‘Creature Comforts’ EP. As the band say, you only get one shot at your debut LP so don’t screw up. Well that’s mission accomplished then.

Author – Ian, Romford Store