From the dingy hometown haunts of Camden to the O2 Arena, North London four-piece Wolf Alice have come a long way off the back of previous EP releases. ‘My Love Is Cool’ marks their first full-length, and it’s been a long time coming.
It’s often a curse for a band with this level of success prior to an album release – with pressure to fill-up the record with tracks that had the biggest impact. Wolf Alice made the decision to focus mainly on new material, with the exception of two older re-worked tracks.
An all-new glossed-up version of ‘Bros’ - which has secured daytime Radio 1 plays - sees Ellie Rowsell take a nostalgic look back to an inseparable childhood friendship. Fans who have been here from the start may have to adjust their ears slightly to its new, slicker production, and though it may have lost the original’s raw edge the band has crafted the perfect indie-pop track, with its soaring bridge being the standout moment of the record. The anthemic ‘Your Love's Whore’ sits within the same vein as previous grungier efforts with its expansive instrumental intro, while another re-worked track ‘Fluffy’ retains the frantic, beer-dropping energy that made it such a highlight of the band’s early live shows.
Wolf Alice don’t let you get too comfortable though, as the record shifts pace and genres frequently, living up to their desire not to be pigeonholed; they try their hand at electro-pop on the glistening ‘Soapy Water’, with a chorus which comes close to channeling Spice Girls ‘2 Become 1’, while ‘Giant Peach’ smashes into a monstrous breakdown which wouldn’t be out of place on an early Muse record.
Things take a darker turn on ‘Silk’, which is introduced by an eerie bassline before transforming into a playground chant, while Rowsell admits an urge to go out and smash windows on ‘Lisbon’ as a thrashing wall of guitars engulfs her whispered vocals.
Attempting to tackle opposite ends of the musical spectrum - and everything in between - is a brave move on a debut album, but one that has certainly paid off. The unconventional twists and turns of ‘My Love Is Cool’ makes Wolf Alice one of the most exciting new bands around.
Words: Tom Skinner
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