Reviewing Wolf Alice’s latest, hotly tipped album, ‘Blue Weekend’, feels even more fitting during a hangover, given its name. My dehydrated interpretations aside, though, I’m not one of those die-hard fans of the band, but I see a lot of point in listening to, massively enjoying and reviewing this new material — especially as their epic 2015 single, ‘Bros’, remains an undeniable tune-and-a-half.
Back in January, I started scouring the internet for album release news, frantically trying to get ahead by scribbling down who might be dropping what and when. At that stage, a lot of bands and artists were tying up loose ends and hadn’t finalised these record-launch details, but Wolf Alice were among the first outfits I found out some info about. And now, here it is…
‘Blue Weekend’ starts at a go-slow pace, with the gently strummed strings of ‘The Beach’ complementing Ellie Rowsell’s idyllic vocals. You can hear fingers smoothly sliding up and down the fretboard, and that somehow projects this rawness that kicks off the album in quite a sophisticated fashion. ‘Delicious Things’ is next, which I’d call soft rock, more than anything. Meanwhile, ‘Lipstick On The Glass’ sounds like a COVID nightmare, but it has this steady but really addictive, toe-tapping beat.
What’s always been quite clever about Wolf Alice is that their catalogue never showcases just one genre or style — they’re very dynamic and there are all sorts of pitch and tempo shifts. It certainly keeps things interesting, which I guess is why I knew this would be review-worthy deliciousness in the main.
The lead single, ‘Smile’, is still a knockout — as it’s much heavier and serves up a brazen mix of shredded riffs — and ‘Play The Greatest Hits’ is pure angst. A lot of fun and definitely a highlight. ‘Feeling Myself’ has an overarching heaviness as well, with some drawn out, more electronic elements, too, just as ‘How Can I Make It OK?’ does.
What’s more, as a sucker for a bit of palm-muted guitar work, ‘No Hard Feelings’ is another soothing song that I should pull out in this blurb. But, given all the nuances, this album will surely appeal to people in different ways.
If you only download one track, let it be: ‘Smile’