Images By Jordan Hemingway
Words by Emily Jade Ricalton
Since the release of their second studio album, Visions Of A Life, Wolf Alice have been on an incredibly long four-year hiatus, but now they’re back and better than ever before – you‘ll just have to trust me on this one.
With the release of their third studio album, Blue Weekend, Wolf Alice have shown a clear development within the sound and style of their music. Blue Weekend is an ode to a range of emotions. From joy to sadness, this is something that is unique to the music that we have previously heard from the North London four-piece. Speaking to the band’s bassist, Theo Ellis, in an interview that we did with Quench earlier this year, Blue Weekend was ‘the first time Ellie kind of let herself go with any preconceptions about things like love songs, and talking with a personal touch to things’. With Don’t Delete the Kisses being one of the few love songs written by Ellie herself, we see a sense of personal growth and confidence come through within the lyrics of Blue Weekend, making it one of their most relatable and loveable albums to date.
Lipstick on the Glass shows an increasingly sensitive side to the band. ‘Yeah I know it seems surprising when there’s lipstick still on the glass’ hints at an element of heartbreak that is relatable to many. It’s a track that becomes symbolic of being betrayed by the one you love, with Rowsell pleading with her partner to ‘go ahead and please leave’. Unlike Don’t Delete The Kisses, which provides an insight into the emotions felt whilst falling in love, Lipstick On The Glass shows the truth of losing your love. The track’s narrative beautifully charts the progression of emotion that someone feels whilst experiencing heartbreak. Whilst Rowsell begs for the relationship to happen again ‘once more’, us listeners are encompassed within an experience that we know far too well. Lipstick On The Glass is an iconic heartbreak song, and one of which many of us will be returning to within the future.
With two albums nominated for the prestigious Mercury Prize award, and Visions Of A Life winning the award in 2018, Blue Weekend does not fail to reach the pristine discography that Wolf Alice already have. Recorded over a period of despair and anxiety that was found during the Coronavirus Pandemic, the album has such a strength within its overall aesthetic. After such a tragic year, It’s refreshing.
Within Smile, the fourth track of Blue Weekend, and a track that was released just last month, we hear Ellie proclaim ‘I am what I am and I’m good at it // And you don’t like me, well that isn’t f**king relevant’– the perfect f**k you statement, if you ask me. The track is the epitome of the Wolf Alice sound. It’s heavy, it’s distorted and it’s powerful. It invokes Giant Peach, but in a way that is increasingly refined and developed. Similar to their first album, My Love Is Cool, Smile focuses on Theo’s heavy bassline and overpowering chords. It’s definitely a song you listen to whilst you’re pissed off, and honestly, it’s great. Smile delves into the experiences of being a young adult. ‘I ain’t ashamed in the fact that I’m sensitive // I believe that it is the perfect adjective’ describes the stereotypical emotions of being a young woman within such a judgemental world. It’s an empowerment to the over-sensitive and it’s definitely a favourite of mine from the album.
Blue Weekend’s seventh track, Play The Greatest Hits, is a true reflection of the anger expressed throughout Punk music. Similar to Yuk Foo, we see this song throwing us back to the 1970s, with Joff’s destructive riffs ripping through the guitar of this track. ‘It isn’t loud enough’ is something we can definitely relate to if this song is kept quiet whilst being played. As Joff told Quench Music, ‘I think playing The Greatest Hitsis going to be a fun one’, and you can definitely see why – it’s both a crowd pleaser, and a mosh-pit starter.
The experimental indie band bare their Grunge roots through Feeling Myself. Within the first minute, Feeling Myself collapses into a passionate array of guitar music. Like Visions Of A Life, the track is soft, yet mysterious. It has a strong reminder of Soundgarden’s Black Hole Sun, where the listener is reminded of the heavy beauty associated with rock music whilst avoiding this stereotypical route of chaotic sounds and hostility. ‘You can watch me as I feel myself’ emphasises, as she told NME Magazine earlier this year, Rowsell’s new-found confidence as a songwriter. We see a modern self-love that is inspiring for listeners. Ellie’s song-writing excels throughout Blue Weekend and it gives us a clear development in the way Wolf Alice are expanding and growing as a band.