Prime Edition

Folksy grunge coming through
AKHIL SOOD  11th Jul 2015

My Love is Cool

Wolf Alice

Dirty Hit Records

It's not quite a contemporary revelation, but cyclical bursts of well-earned energy, followed and preceded by restraint — the soft-hard dynamic in music — will forever remain in vogue for the power with which such sections, when well articulated, resonate. Young Brit alt-rockers Wolf Alice display an unpredictable grasp on this swiveling intensity on My Love is Cool, their debut full-length. Ellie Rowsell, the vocalist and the heart of the band really, has this charming ability to surge from disaffected, seesaw verse lines — backed often by deliberately underdone, muted guitar progressions — into ecstatic outbursts of screaming melodies. It's almost jarring at times, what with the crunching, noisy guitars and the treble-high mix assisting her respectable vocal range, but that's the aesthetic of the band. When it all falls in place — as it does during plenty of moments during this record, including highlight Moaning Lisa Smile, Your Love's Whore, Bros, and further — the results have a clear sense of honesty and emotion about them.

The folksy momentum the songs build up at times flips just as quickly into all-out grungy passages of exultation (it's hard not to make inevitable comparisons to Courtney Love in her finer moments with Hole during some of the more charged chorus bits here). The band's repertoire boasts sophisticated sonic craft and, as far as debuts go, the album works far better than it rightfully should. But does it try anything new?

It's a smattering of different genres, delivered with startling emotion at times — but let's also not get carried away or pretend like this record is something it's not. Despite its mix-and-match fluidity, there seems to be a contentment to the sound — it's inquisitive but not restlessly searching for new ground. What we get with Wolf Alice, seemingly, is a band that's trying to cultivate and nurture a sound they understand and excel at. That sense of maturity propels My Love is Cool, a solid, powerful rock 'n' roll album, albeit one that overstays its welcome just a tad once the thrill of initial listens dies down.

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