Out Now: Wolf Alice Re-Emerges Focused and Excitingly Unpredictable with New Album ‘Blue Weekend’ (Listen)


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Rock Cellar Magazine
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There’s only one Wolf Alice, and the English alt/rock band returned this past Friday, June 4, with Blue Weekend — its third full-length album and the anticipated follow-up to 2017’s Visions of a Life, which was among that year’s most acclaimed releases (and won the Mercury Prize as a result).

Simply put: Blue Weekend is a revelatory listen, one in which Ellie Rowsell (vocals/guitars/piano), Joff Oddie (guitar/vocals), Theo Ellis (bass, vocals) and Joel Amey (drums) fully realize their ambitions with at times breathtaking results.

Wolf Alice was already unclassifiable as far as traditional genre restrictions are concerned, having cast a strong mark on their own with an unpredictability that was at work throughout Visions of a Life, and that’s very much the case throughout the new material.

“Delicious Things,” elevated by gorgeous vocal harmonies and a rhythmic sway that belies its darker subject matter, is among the album’s strongest moments:

Could I belong here? The vibes are kinda strong here
The vibes are kinda wrong, I’m scared to know just what goes on here
Some guy has taken me into his garden
It seems to be some kind of mountain
I’m socially anxious and a long way from home
I’ve only just learnt my margarita from mojito, so
Could I belong here? The vibes are kinda strong here
Ask me if I’m from here and I won’t say no

That aforementioned unpredictability is again at the core of Blue Weekend, such as with the aching “Lipstick on the Glass,” an anthem of yearning:

Mirroring how the human experience can shift on a whim, “Lipstick” is followed on the album’s sequencing by “Smile,” a fuzzed-out rocker with Rowsell talk-singing lyrics of defiance:

I ain’t ashamed in the fact that I’m sensitive
I believe that it is the perfect adjective

I wear my feelings on my sleeve, I suggested it
It serves me better than to swallow in a sedative
I am what I am and I’m good at it
And you don’t like me, well that isn’t fucking relevant

The angst of “Smile” gives way to “Safe From Heartbreak (if you never fall in love),” folky guitars and a dreamy chorus of voices everywhere:

Blue Weekend came about after the band — Rowsell, Joff Oddie (guitar, vocals), Theo Ellis (bass) and Joel Amey (drums, vocals) — decompressed after the lengthy time spent touring and supporting Visions of a Life in “an Airbnb in Somerset, and it was here that they reconfigured who they were together, far away from festival stages, tour buses, awards shows, and fans,” per a news release.

Click here to pick up Blue Weekend on CD from our Rock Cellar Store
Click here to pick up Blue Weekend on LP from our Rock Cellar Store

“How Can I Make It OK?” was the last pre-release music video shared ahead of the album launch, and it’s another highlight:

More:

“They cemented their friendship and set to work on some fledgling demos in a converted church. These demos evolved into Blue Weekend, a record produced by Markus Dravs (Arcade Fire, Björk, Brian Eno, Florence + The Machine) who has aided the band in refining their sound to an even sharper point. Rowsell’s personal storytelling is at the core of Blue Weekend, an album that sees Wolf Alice embrace a newfound boldness and vulnerability in equal measure.”

After listening to the album, the fact that some of it was conceived in a converted church makes sense, as many of the album’s songs take on an ethereal feel that truly envelops the listener.

By the time the outro of “The Beach II” fades away, you’ll want to experience it all over again.

Blue Weekend by Wolf Alice is an especially powerful achievement by a group that went into the album sessions with capital-E Expectations, following one of the best-received albums of the indie realm in the past few years. It’s the most precise musical statement the group has made to date, and there’s no doubt it will increase interest in their music and career from this point forward.

Speaking of, do not miss the band’s fall tour dates in support of the record:

Mon/Oct-25 Seattle, WA Showbox Market
Tue/Oct-26 Portland, OR Crystal Ballroom
Thu/Oct-28 Los Angeles, CA Teragram Ballroom
Fri/Oct-29 Los Angeles, CA Teragram Ballroom
Sat/Oct-30 San Francisco, CA August Hall
Mon/Nov-1 Salt Lake City, UT Grand @ The Complex
Wed/Nov-3 Denver, CO Bluebird Theater
Thu/Nov-4 Denver, CO Bluebird Theater
Sat/Nov-6 Minneapolis, MN Fine Line
Mon/Nov-8 Chicago, IL The Vic
Tue/Nov-9 Columbus, OH Newport
Thu/Nov-11 Boston, MA Paradise Rock Club
Fri/Nov-12 New York, NY Bowery Ballroom
Sat/Nov-13 New York, NY Bowery Ballroom
Mon/Nov-15 Washington, DC Union Stage
Tue/Nov-16 Washington, DC Union Stage
Thu/Nov-18 Nashville, TN Cannery
Sat/Nov-20 Atlanta, GA Terminal West

Listen to Blue Weekend below.


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