Last night, thanks to Wolf Alice, I did something I haven’t done for a long time – sat down and listened to a new album all the way through, following the lyrics on the sleeve, and giving the songs my undivided attention (aside from a little interruption from the blackbird that set out his territorial claim each night from atop our roof). When it was finished I went back to the start and listened to it all over again. I know Wolf Alice have had a lot of hype, but I honestly don’t remember being this excited after first hearing a debut album since the Arctic Monkeys, Caitlin Rose, or going back a bit further, the Stone Roses.
Unfortunately I don’t think my blogging skills are really up to properly describing the heart-thumping joy that is My Love is Cool. Basically you’d be better off just listening to it. But to make a passing attempt at an album review here’s a few sentence-long selective track reflections:
- Turn To Dust – the album opener starts slowly with some reverb and a metronomic bass drum until a vocal takes over that manages to be both angelic and maudlin, almost surreptitiously reeling in the listener.
- Your Loves Whore – there’s a lot of late-80s indie about this one, and the the punchy lyrics manage to evoke nostalgia (“when we grow older, we’ll still be friends”) from a song about teenage love.
- Silk – starting with a superb conversation in the singer’s head, Ellie Rowsell uses such a different voice on this sing-a-long track that I had to check I was listening to the same album.
- Freazy – a feel-good tune with a Delays-like guitar riff and breathy lyrics (at least the third vocal style in the first seven tracks) and a sound of the summer drum beat.
- Giant Peach – pounding, head-bobbing stuff with Ellie Rowsell now in Debbie Harry mode circa Eat to the Beat
- Swallowtail – the only track on which drummer, Joel Amey, takes over the singing duties, backed by only an acoustic guitar, it’s beautiful stuff and suggests Wolf Alice have an embarrassment of talent in the band.
The much-missed DJ, John Peel, used to explain his undimmed enthusiasm for ploughing through the endless promo-tapes sent to him by hopeful aspiring bands with the thought that any one of them might just be the new Smiths. I don’t know if Wolf Alice are that, but slouching on the Eurostar back from a COP21 preparatory meeting in Paris I’m on my fifth listen in 24 hours and ‘My Love Is Cool’ is becoming a serious impediment to getting some work done. Aural rationing is going to have to be introduced. But in the meantime, I’ll enjoy the best debut album in a decade and look forward to seeing Wolf Alice live at Latitude.