Visions of a Life
Reviewed by Lauren Rosier
Wolf Alice’s last release, 2015’s My Love Is Cool, was met with critical acclaim and was one of the best indie records of that year. Before My Love, Wolf Alice was a folk band. Three extended plays later, they made the genre change. Visions begins where My Love ends.
The opening of Visions, “Heavenward”, is the fourth single. It’s an airy, alternative rock track with some grunge elements, that displays the band at its best. “Heavenward” pulls together ‘90’s-like guitar work over Ellie Rowsell’s dreamy vocals. Rowsell sings about a friend that recently passed away (“Your mum created you a small heaven/I was just there an hour/I could tell that you’d be leaving/so cruelly beyond our power”) making it a beautifully heartbroken song.
On “Beautifully Unconventional” and “Formidable Cool”, Rowsell and company take a modern psychedelic route, an escape from some of the other tunes on the album. On “Beautifully Unconventional”, Rowsell said in an interview with BBC Radio 1, that the song was inspired by the movie, Heathers. While on “Formidable Cool”, Rowsell’s gritty spoken word vocals and an incredible bass line that reminds you of those heart-pounding bass lines of the ‘60’s and ‘70’s.
The track “Space & Time”, rhythmic drums and Rowsell’s raw vocals blend the infectious indie rock of Arcade Fire with elements of ‘90’s alternative. One of my favorite songs on Visions is the melodious “Planet Hunter”; a song that blends the best of haunting guitars and Rowsell’s delicate vocals.