I have to admit...
I hadn’t heard of Wolf Alice prior to writing this article.
You might have already come cross Wolf Alice if you read Stephan Jenkins (Third Eye Blind) blurb for The 405 Best of 2017: Artists On Their Favorite Songs. According to SJ, “Because the time is now for bands like Wolf Alice, and the rest of us can live in their dream.,” we need to all pay attention. Seeing that this UK band was about to hit the Bay Area, we die hard music supporters knew this band needed a spotlight, and that the time is now.
As Stephan says, "And this is where we get to why Wolf Alice makes the grade for favourite tracks of the year", the first song I checked out was 'Don’t Delete the Kisses,' which was the song featured with Stephan's story. During the first 16 seconds of the song, I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to enjoy this band. I had immediate doubts.
However, by 1:20 into the song my mind was changed. When singer, Ellie Rowsell, completely changes her vocal style to a whispery narrative, I was hooked. Now I have to see where this song goes… and I like it. A lot. I was so wrong about this band. I should have known better. Stephan likes them, sure, but they also have to be pretty cool to share a label with The 1975!
As I’m listening, I’m picking up on hints of Metric, and I’m getting Cranberries vibes in tunes like 'Bros', their first single from their 2013 album Fluffy. I hear subtleties that remind me of the Breeders and Sonic Youth and it pulls me in even more.
Wolf Alice is a pretty dynamic band. Their songs are a bit of a rollercoaster. Some start out pretty heavy, like 'Moaning Lisa Smile,' which has a tinge of Hole to it. Close your eyes during that tune and you can just about picture the 90’s babydoll dress and Doc Martin combat boots.
Bottom line, Ellie Rowsell has a beautiful singing voice, and she shows it off in softer tunes like 'Planet Hunter.' Her range is all over the place, and similar to the style of the XX’s Romy Madley Croft. In fact, the only thing missing for me with Wolf Alice would be the male-female dueling vocals like that of the XX, Pixies, or the Kills. We almost get this during the chorus of 'Silk,' which is one of my new favorites. It starts off haunting in the beginning, but really revs up the melody by song’s end. They have just enough grunge in their sound to disrupt and all the talent needed to be taken seriously. Regardless, I’ve really started to fall in love with her voice, and also their lyrics.
Wolf Alice is currently riding the wave of their 2017 album, Visions of a Life, and are out on tour in support of it (Check out this fun article, Before They Hit the Road with Queens of the Stone Age, Wolf Alice Tells What's on Their Tour Bus Stereo!).
If you’re going to Amoeba Records this Friday to catch Stephan, for his acoustic performance and the Summer Gods Live vinyl release, you may be able to catch these guys playing at Cornerstone in Berkeley, CA for a show with the Big Pink. While the main show seems to be sold out, it looks as if there's an opportunity to catch a late show at 9:30 p.m. If Berkeley is out of the question, no worries - Wolf Alice has several more dates for you to catch while they're on the road.
I highly recommend diving into Wolf Alice Music and getting to know their stuff. Explore their music on Apple Music and Spotify, along with the several US and European tour dates set for 2018. I gasped when I saw they were coming to my city with the Big Pink this Spring, just before hitting the road with Queens of the Stone Age. I’ll be at the Shelter in Detroit for their show at the end of this month. Say hi if you see me!
Delete the kisses at the end, x x x x