Wolf Alice, a genre mashing grunge-folk-pop outfit hailing from North London’s Camden are a shining beacon of hope in the alternate scene. After four strong EP releases and years of touring – their LP is finally here and it has definitely been worth the wait. Its a rarity to hear of a band who have garnered so much attention before actually releasing an album, but in my eyes – the quartet’s release banishes any thoughts of not living up to the hype.
Although at first glance the album looks and feels somewhat like a grunge album, the band don’t seem to agree: “It’s 100 percent not a grunge record, its something braver than that” they recently stated. That is obvious to see when you dig a little deeper into the record. There are elements of folk, pop, thrash and even electro – all seamlessly intertwined to create a sort of up and down journey that remains unpredictable right to the very last track.
The first track on the album, Turn to dust, singer Ellie Rowsell’s soothing angelic vocals create a sort of folk-ballad from a forgotten age. Her folk stylings remain in the other tracks but in combination with a singing style more suitable to grunge – often both in the same song as a sort of climatic journey – venturing from soft beginnings to almost demonic screaming. The Heavier tracks on the album, Giant Peach and You’re a Germ chug along driven by blistering guitar riffs while Freazy and Silk showcase the dynamic range that the band have mastered. Rowsell’s vocal diversity is commendable, although she seems to remain relatively reserved for the most part.
Wolf Alice are a band that could play on any stage, anywhere – be it a dingy basement in North London or a main stage at a music festival. Their youthful energy, teen spirit and diversity are definitely strong points and those are elements that you don’t see often enough. Some people have said that it smells like the second coming of grunge – that particular sentiment has been rejected by the band itself, but it just wouldn’t be grunge if they weren’t in (ah) denial.