Wolf Alice’s Ellie Rowsell has an ethereal voice akin to Cocteau Twins’ Liz Fraser, one that might be in peril of drifting away had been it not tethered to the would possibly of her band. That lacy dreaminess is balanced by a ferociously heavy sonic wall, making for a sound that defies straightforward categorization. It’s made much more tough by Visions Of A Life, the London quartet’s sophomore launch, which varies that sound from track to track. Whereas that sort of factor will be jarring (look to Alt-J’s newest, for instance), Rowsell’s voice supplies a surreally dreamlike connecting thread.
Epic opener “Heavenward” finds Rowsell’s voice dissolving right into a sonic combine that’s simply north of cacophonous, whereas lead single “Yuk Foo” ramps up the pace and depth as she rattles off a stream of punk profanity (“I wish to fuck all of the individuals I meet / Fuck all my mates and all of the individuals on the street ’cos / You bore me / You bore me to demise / Properly deplore me / Properly I don’t give a shit”). The extra advanced compositions, like “Don’t Delete The Kisses” and “Planet Hunter,” are far more consultant—the previous discovering Rowsell utilizing a cool speak-sing, whereas the latter’s layered vocals evoke the sharply candy harmonies of Veruca Salt.
With references to heavens and planets working all through, Rowsell’s poetry-journal lyrics face decidedly skyward. “Sky Musings” contemplates eternity from the vantage level of an airplane seat; “Formidable Cool” looks like a misplaced track from the 1983 Liquid Sky soundtrack, bolstered by some unexpectedly twangy guitars.
She gazes inward, too: “Sadboy” is a kind of this-isn’t-ending-up-where-we-thought-it-would tracks, scolding its titular boy with an anthemic mantra of a refrain. “St. Purple & Inexperienced” kicks off with a gospel refrain line earlier than segueing into the prettiest ode Rowsell affords—that’s, no less than, till “After The Zero Hour,” which sounds just like the kind of folky reverie composed by a younger girl daydreaming on a Woodstock hill.
Visions Of A Life ends with its title monitor, a welcome bookend to the opener that finds Rowsell’s devilishly angelic refrain once more threaded with as many guitar and drum tracks the band can layer, earlier than blessedly falling to earth. In lesser arms, this type of sonic disparity might be chaotic and complicated—however with Rowsell’s voice because the guiding mild, Visions is a charming, pleasant trip.