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WOLF ALICE Blue Weekend gets 9/10


Wolf Alice

Blue Weekend
Dirty Hit

9/10

In a time where singles are king, Wolf Alice have created an album that celebrates the importance of the long play. Blue Weekend is a beautiful narrative, with all the sweeping highs, the emotional lows, and hits of rage needed to tell any good story. No skipping or shuffle required.

Generally hiding behind metaphors in her lyricism, singer Ellie Rowsell seems to have come out of her songwriting shell on this album, with some of her most honest, in-depth, and intelligent lyrics to date, creating one of the most sophisticated break up records you’re likely to hear.

Roswell’s vocal work also shines, perfecting styles we’ve heard on previous albums, like the screams from tracks such as Yuk Foo, which are replicated on Play The Greatest Hits, and the more casual talking style used on Don’t Delete The Kisses, which appears on a few songs across Blue Weekend. Rowsell also gives us vocal moments that we have not heard from her before, and styles that really showcase her range and vocal ability.

Credit must also be given to the rest of the band. Joel Amey, Joff Oddie and Theo Ellis have “levelled up” the band’s sonic range on this record, and have given the whole album a cohesive sound, despite tracks jumping between genres and pace. The songs on Blue Weekend seem more connected than those on Wolf Alice’s previous albums, with an overall mood that threads the release together.

The Beach is a great opener, starting mellow and then slowly building to draw you in. Delicious Things follows, with an appropriately delicious bass line plucking away quietly in the background, and a really intriguing melody line. The story that the album is conveying, which is that of a breakup, starts to become clear from this track and continues on Lipstick on the Glass, which exclaims, “I’ll take you back!”

Smile showcases the guitar work fans have come to love from Joff Oddie, alongside some of Rowsell’s most brutal lyrics, “Don’t call me mad, There’s a difference, I’m angry, And your choice to call me cute has offended me,” a comment on the “you’re cute when you’re mad” line women often hear, which is appropriate on a track about making assumptions. A lot of lines on this song speak to the frustration of not being taken seriously as a woman, being called “sensitive” or “unhinged,” making it awesome for listeners wanting to let those kinds of frustrations out.

Safe From Heartbreak (if you never fall in love) takes a step in the complete opposite direction sonically, as gentle finger-picking ushers in the song. It speaks to the cynical part in all of us, and it gets stuck in your head, almost like a mantra. “I ain’t a plaything, to make life exciting/ I have feelings, safe from heartbreak if I never fall in love.”

As showcased earlier on Blue Weekend, and on previous albums, Wolf Alice are masters when it comes to creating songs that build up slowly, and How Can I Make It Ok? is the perfect example of this. Starting with a repetitive synth line it builds to a bittersweet peak with Rowsell singing “I just want you to be happy!”

Play The Greatest Hits is one of the best moments on the album, which is hard to say when almost all of the tracks are highlights, but its raucous energy just cannot be matched – this song was made for the live show. Viewing the album as a break up, this would be the point where the broken-hearted is trying to fill the void left behind with whatever will work to drown out the emptiness, and this song does just that, even if for just two minutes thirty seconds. “It isn’t loud enough!” is exactly how you will feel listening to this, and it may be responsible for a few ruined eardrums in the future.

The back end of the record is quite mellow is comparison. The Last Man On The Earth is a beautiful piano ballad, which is a great addition to the Wolf Alice repertoire. No Hard Feelings is a sombre, short and sweet track, that, in the sense of a breakup, is the moment the heartbroken decides it is time to move on, stating “for everything that ends, something else must begin.”  It’s enough to bring a tear to your eye, and it helps to wind up the narrative, while The Beach II brings the album full circle.

Ordinarily, heartbreak is painful, but following along with this story of heartbreak is joyous. The continuous mood throughout and the storyline that becomes so clear as you listen makes Blue Weekend feel like you are reading a book or watching a movie. Only it’s one that is filled with gorgeous instrumentation instead of adjectives, and well-woven lyrics from a self-assured front woman, rather than a movie star reciting lines she’s read a million times before.

KIERRA POLLOCK

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