By Melody J Myers
British rock band Wolf Alice — composed of members Ellie Rowsell (guitar and lead vocals), Theo Ellis (bass and vocals), Joel Army (drums and vocals), and Joff Oddie (guitar and vocals) — are finally back.
After releasing their debut album, My Love Is Cool (2015), to much amazement and praise, they followed with their sophomore album, Visions of a Life (2017), which helped them receive the 2018 Mercury Prize for British Album of the Year, leading them achieve much more critical and commercial success. Now, Wolf Alice are back with their third album Blue Weekend, which has them evolving to Britain’s best band.
Throughout their career, Wolf Alice have always proven that they can adapt to meet the high expectations set for them, and they continually soar so high. They’ve always had the ability to switch their sound and genre, but still sound like them, which is evidenced with Blue Weekend's tracklist. As shown throughout, they’ve refined their craft and from previous efforts, exhibiting even better artistry than ever before. When it comes to growth, Ellie Rowsell, who once had a shy demeanor, has now stepped into the spotlight she rightfully deserves and shows us graceful confidence not only in her vocals, but in her lyricism as well. The songs, which build around her vocals, have brought us another side of Ellie that we’ve never seen before, whether it be through moments of spoken word, or otherworldly high notes.
The intro to the album is "The Beach," a slow burning opener that opens with mellow riffs, a pulsating beat, and a quote from Macbeth: “When shall we three meet again? In thunder, lightning or in rain.” While with its partner, "The Beach II," the lyrics are flowing, and an ode to friendship and happier endings is shown, "The Beach" is a track that describes an anxious feeling before a night out, and the outcome of it all. This introspective theme is continued with "Delicious Things," wherein Ellie describes being overwhelmed by Los Angeles and not being in her comfort zone. While she makes commentary on success with all around dreaminess and honesty about her experience, the lyric, “Can I belong here?,” shows Ellie’s vulnerable side, uttered with the soft vocals we know and love.
Opposingly, a theatrical party theme is introduced with "Play the Greatest Hits," an anthemic track that will 100% start a mosh pit, and "Smile," which exhibits punky vocals and buzzing guitar with lyrics in which Ellie expresses that she doesn't really care if someone likes her because it’s not really the end of the world, is it?
Later, "Lipstick On The Glass" showcases spooky imagery throughout it lyrics, while Ellie’s whispered, ethereal vocals tie everything together perfectly, and "Safe From Heartbreak," an acoustic number, carries itself with harmonies and delicate, angelic melodies. Upon listening to single "No Hard Feelings," I was reminded of "Don’t Delete The Kisses" (2017) in which a love story has ended, but there isn't any resentment between the former lovers. This feeling of forgiveness is continued with "How Can I Make It Ok?," a soft and vulnerable synth track with a memorably heart wrenching line, “How can I make it okay? I just want to make you happy.” Ultimately, though, "Feeling Myself" and "The Last Man On Earth" are the two tracks in which Ellie’s vocals truly shine.
Throughout its runtime, Blue Weekend still displays Wolf Alice's ambition and their love for music, while exhibiting some truly excellent moments of musical prowess. This, to me, makes it their best album yet.
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