As we draw ever closer to the eventual return of live events and concerts, more and more artists across the world are releasing albums and EP’s recorded throughout the pandemic in the hopes to be a part of the post pandemic boom. One such band with a new record ready to be toured is the indie sensation known as Wolf Alice. Having been Grammy nominated for the single Mona Lisa Smile off their debut album My Love is Cool, as well as their sophomore record Visions Of A Life winning the coveted Mercury Prize, it’s safe to say that there is a lot of anticipation and expectation for the bands third record, Blue Weekend, but does it live up to the hype?
Blue Weekend sets off on an unfortunately shaky start with its opening track ‘The Beach.’ This introduction track looks to build anticipation for the coming record, despite the fact that fans have anticipating this record since the Visions Of A Life propelled Wolf Alice’s popularity in a big way. Despite its lack of necessity, ‘The Beach’ is a rather average opening that seems to end exactly when you think it may go somewhere interesting.
Next up is ‘Delicious Things’, which finds Wolf Alice at their most conventional. With a very chilled sound and steady pace, this indie track will please the hipsters and stoners that have taken Wolf Alice into their hearts. Although perhaps a little longer than it needs to be, ‘Delicious Things’ is a solid track meant to make you sway back and forth whist off your tits on something delicious.
Following on is yet another conventionally chilled out Wolf Alice Track, ‘Lipstick on The Glass.’ Reminiscent of Kate Bush and Bjork, ‘Lipstick on The Glass’ finds Wolf Alice wearing their influences on their sleeve with a song that would fit right at home on a record from either artist. Although, being one of Blue Weekend’s weaker offerings, ‘Lipstick on The Glass’ is still a decent track and demonstrates a glimmer of the versatility yet to come.
The album flows into its second single, ‘Smile’ and it is at this point in the album where the energy, and quality, really picks up. ‘Smile’ elevates Blue Weekend’s pulse with catchy guitar riffs and Ellie Rowsell’s almost spoken word/rap styled vocals in the verses, building towards her unique brand of ethereal note holding during the chorus. ‘Smile’ is a signature Wolf Alice hipster rock anthem that is easily one of Blue Weekend’s best tracks
Slowing things back down is the simple yet effective ‘Safe From Heartbreak (If I Never Fall In Love).’ With a hippie folk melody and perfectly executed harmonies by Roswell, ‘Safe From Heartbreak (If I Never Fall In Love)’ is an infectiously catchy ballad that many will have a hard time resisting a sing-along to. Hopefully we’ll be singing this at the festival campfires very soon.
Opening with a synth beat is the 80’s inspired ‘How Can I Make It Ok?’ Feeling rather similar to The 1975’s attempts at creating 80’s inspired pop songs, ‘How Can I Make It Ok?’ equally feels like an 80’s pop track that would fly under our radar, until becoming a hit years later on a soundtrack for a film like Guardians of the Galaxy. Either way, the synth, bass line and Roswell’s vocal range, come together to make ‘How Can I Make It Ok?’ a winning homage to a classic decade.
Cracking things up to 11 is the punk rock song ‘Play The Greatest Hits.’ Easily my favourite track on Blue Weekend, probably because of its high energy and punk rock genre, ‘Play the Greatest Hits’ channels the same energy as Vision For A Life’s hit single ‘Yuk Foo’, whilst in my opinion, improving upon it. With fast paced instrumentals, as well as, Roswell’s bratty vocals, ‘Play The Greatest Hits’ will likely be played for years to come when fans demand its title.
And now for a hypnotic song about sex titled ‘Feeling Myself.’ Heavily reminiscent of Massive Attack’s 1998 hit ‘Teardrop’, ‘Feeling Myself’ is a dramatic electronica song that further demonstrates Wolf Alice’s versatility, whilst maintaining their signature brand of hippie pop/rock. ‘Feeling Myself’ is an instrumental spectacle that I can’t wait to witness live in concert.
A rather sombre sounding piano indicates the start of the albums lead single ‘The Last Man On Earth.’ Feeling right at home on the soundtrack for an indie movie like Juno or anything directed by Spike Jonze, ‘The Last Man On Earth’ is yet another example of Wolf Alice thriving from simplicity on Blue Weekend. Although, not the albums strongest track, ‘The Last Man on Earth’ is a beautiful indie track and perfectly scorns the man Ellie Roswell has been writing much of Blue Weekend about.
A bouncy guitar riff opens the albums third single and the penultimate song ‘No Hard Feelings’ which rounds off what has been an expectedly strong album from Wolf Alice. Instrumentally minimalistic, ‘No Hard Feelings’ is yet another simplistic yet unforgettable track that many will struggle to get out of their head. A perfect ending to Blue Weekend, however unfortunately, Wolf Alice decided to bookend their record with ‘The Beach II’ which, although is an improvement upon the opening track, still isn’t anywhere near as good as anything else Blue Weekend had to offer.
Despite an underwhelming start and finish, the bulk of Blue Weekend is perhaps Wolf Alice’s strongest work to date. Versatile, catchy and quintessentially Wolf Alice, Blue Weekend finds Wolf Alice channelling a plethora of 80’s and 90’s influences, whilst fundamentally thriving off simplicity. I don’t know who hurt Ellie Roswell is, but whoever they are, they have only made her stronger, resulting in an album that, despite being titled Blue Weekend, makes the band look a little more colourful.
Blue Weekend is OUT NOW to buy and stream and tickets for Wolf Alice’s UK tour are ON SALE NOW