Wolf Alice’s debut full-length, My Love is Cool, was an album to define the times. This is a band who have brought together people of wildly different musical tastes, without intentionally crafting their sound to universality – a process which usually leads to dull, meaningless songs. On their second album, Visions of a Life, the band has similarly jumped around sonically – in a way that means there is something to appeal to various audiences.
The opening track ‘Heavenward’ is a tender tribute to a lost friend, with has a dreamlike quality that can also be heard on the beautifully layered track ‘Planet Hunter’. The contrast between these songs and lead single ‘Yuk Foo’ is startling, and something to be appreciated. The latter is a snarling punk song with Huggy Bear vibes, a song which is unrelenting and youthful. In contrast, ‘Sky Musings’ is a breathless, whispering track that is both anxious and creepy, although perhaps slightly self-indulgent – it’s difficult to imagine the band playing this one live. Yet then there are songs like ‘Beautifully Unconventional’ and ‘Formidable Cool’ – arguably two of the band’s most polished songs to date – which belong on the soundtracks to 80s coming-of-age films. Every one of these songs is interesting, but some will surely work better than others in maintaining people’s interest.
Within individual songs, Visions of a Life is a more refined Wolf Alice. As a whole, the album is far less cohesive than what the band has done before. However, whilst this could be interpreted as a band still struggling to find their sound, it feels more like it’s a band who don’t give a shit about narrowing themselves down. It feels like a band speaking to the experience of being in your early-to-mid 20s – the uncertainty, the constant change in tempo, the exhilaration, the heartbreak, and everything in-between. It’s restless, and that seems like a perfect vision of the lives of both Wolf Alice and their fans.
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