My Love is Cool by Wolf Alice
Wolf Alice pushed back the release date for their debut album to ensure that it was as good as it could be. In doing so the hype grew and it was built up to be something particularly special. With having only previously released four-track EPs Blush and Creature Songs in 2013 and 2014 respectively, as well as a couple of singles prior, the prospect of a honed record was exciting for fans. So why is My Love is Cool such a train-wreck?
The extra time that the band have taken seems to have served only in removing the very thing that made Wolf Alice such an exciting up-and-coming band – their rawness. There is a pandemic of overproduction on the record and the instrumentation just blends into a mush behind the vocals. Ellie Roswell may as well rebrand herself as a solo artist because the other band members seem so irrelevant to this release, save for ‘Swallowtail’ (but it’s a very dull song) and ‘Giant Peach’ (the album’s highlight). The band re-recorded old favourites ‘Bros’ and ‘Fluffy’ which only serves to highlight a sizeable change of direction. The guitars in ‘Fluffy’ have actually been turned down, replaced instead by uninspired pop rock “oohs” and “aahs” in the bridge to the chorus and as such Roswell’s scream of “Sixteen / So sweet!” just isn’t compellingly visceral anymore. It all seems so forced and formulaic – everything that Wolf Alice weren’t two years ago. ‘Bros’ has been toned down into an oddball shoegaze-wannabe track, but the only staring at the floor here is from the listening due to the track’s jarring lack of impact- very much the opposite of the 2013 version.
And so a promising band has fallen into the old pitfall of trying to go too big too soon. Wolf Alice used to be easy to admire, but that love has certainly cooled now.