British band Wolf Alice have experienced a meteoric rise over the last few years since the release of their debut record, My Love Is Cool, in 2015. Since concluding that album cycle, they've had some time to reflect — and to get back in the studio with Justin Meldal-Johnsen (best known for his work with Beck, Nine Inch Nails and M83). Together with Meldal-Johnsen, Wolf Alice have created the weighty Visions of a Life, an album that finds Wolf Alice in the midst of a transition both to heavier rock and more delicate acoustics.
"Heavenward" is a gentle yet euphoric plunge into swirling alt-rock, front woman Ellie Rowsell's voice calling out amidst woozy guitars. The album is front-loaded with singles: highlight "Don't Delete The Kisses" is bouncy and melodic, featuring Rowsell's spoken word in the verses. "When I see you, the whole world reduces," she whispers. Restraint is heard in "Planet Hunter," which allows for sweet vocal harmonies and atmospheric sounds to come through.
In balancing out cathartic moments and understated sections on the album, Wolf Alice's unrestrained power is all the more explosive — see "Yuk Foo." A groove and confidence is found in "Formidable Cool," which has a sinister narrative. At times the music meanders a little, especially as the album comes to a close with the title track, but hats off to the band for pushing themselves on Visions of a Life. (Dirty Hit)