Album Reviews Music

Musical Advent Calendar #11 Wolf Alice – Visions Of A Life

A development from their 2015 album ‘My Love is Cool’, Wolf Alice stick to their folksy- punk, hypnotic sound. The masters of juxtapositions, in this new album they use their mash-up of genres to their advantage to create this uniquely beautiful sound. The album artwork for ‘Visions of Life’ pictures a young, angelic girl dancing in a garden, looking as if she could be playing pretend as we all did as children, so essentially acting out a ‘vision of a life’. I like the way the band not only create this vulnerable essence to their album, but also tie in a personal theme, as the album artwork is actually a photograph taken of the lead singer, Ellie’s aunt. If we listen to the lyrics in the songs, we can see that this vulnerable theme runs throughout as the album focuses on family and childhood, and experiences we go through growing up.

‘Beautifully Unconventional’ is one of my favourites because its one of those songs that has such a heavy, feel good beat to it. The intro tune played at the beginning of the song is so POW that I can imagine it being played as a boxer walks into the fighting ring. The beat is so confident and the wording of the lyrics is so optimistic and punchy, that listening to this song through headphones on the way into uni wakes me up and puts more of a spring in my step; its definitely one of those songs that you need to walk along to with a real strut!!

‘Space and Time’ is another favourite of mine, and it’s another feel-good tune as it’s the kind of song you want to stick your head out of the car window and shout along to. It reminds me of the scene in the film ‘Perks of Being a Wallflower’ where they are driving through tunnel, with lights flashing past them and they are stood up in open roof car making the most of feeling alive!

Following the narrative of family and childhood as shown in the album artwork, the song ‘St. Purple and Green’ returns the band back to their folk/ punk-rock hybrid. The song is about Ellie’s nana not being afraid of death and talking about the colourful place she would one day go to. This creates the vulnerable feel to the album as this is about someone Ellie looked up to as a child. The mellotron voices in the second half of the song sound like haunting sirens, almost like a mermaid calling sailors to shore. I like this idea as the whole album has a twisted, yet glittering, fairy-tale feel to it.

An accurate representation to describe falling in love for the first time, ‘Don’t delete the kisses’ is full of juxtapositions: subtle but exciting, bold yet timid, personal and universal. The band takes a chance with this song, as you do in love, as it sounds very different to their older folky or punk sounding music. It is calm, yet thrilling song with a vulnerable voice questioning the listener, portraying all the insecurities we have in the early days of a new relationship. We can all admit at one point or another it has taken us multiple attempts to perfectly word the messages to someone we like, and we have overthought every action we make in front of them in the worry of what they’ll think of us! This song is very universal and speaks to the more vulnerable parts of us as the listeners.

We then have ‘Planet Hunter’ straight after this song in the album,which has a daydream, reverie vibe to it. The hypnotic, soft sound collapses in the chorus with the juxtaposing drums and electric guitar riffs. The lyrics talk about looking back at your younger years, and the idea of wanting to go back in time by referring back to 2015. Maybe this is a reference to their last album?

‘Yuk Foo’ on the other hand is a complete contrast of this song, and I definitely feel like this is the part of the album where the band embrace their punk-rock roots and throw all their angsty- teen vibes out there. Frustration and anger just leak through the screams and wails that Ellie produces throughout the song, which burst out in between the powerful sounds of the electric guitars and crashing drums. This completely contrasts with the fairy-like sound some of the songs produce, and depicts the more upsetting and misunderstood side of growing up and being a teenager.

The general sound of this album is so lively and energetic, yet the lyrics are so beautifully worded and meaningful. Wolf Alice have definitely perfected their quirky, unique sound through this album, to the extent that I find it impossible not to love!


Steph Rowe


For more of this year’s top albums chuck our playlist below on shuffle!