Noise Annoys: Love bites – Wolf Alice's debut LP
SPOTTING Wolf Alice on the front of the NME reminded me it was high time I rescued the hotly tipped London indie quartet's debut LP, My Love Is Cool, from atop the teetering pile of promo product perched precariously on the Noise Annoys 'in' tray.
And not a moment to soon: the album is out on Monday and it turns out that Wolf Alice are actually pretty great.
Having started life a couple of years ago as an acoustic duo consisting of singer guitarist Ellie and her best mate Sadie (now long since departed for a career in nursing), the band have gradually morphed into a fully fledged electric indie rock combo.
My Love Is Cool follows a series of EPs and singles documenting their transition from the pleasant alt-folky pop of debut release Leaving You to the visceral neo-grunge crunch of the lead track from last year's Creature Songs EP's, Moaning Lisa Smile (dig that Simpsons reference).
It features a few tunes that will be familiar to existing fans, including a re-recorded version of fan favourite Bros – a shimmering shoegaze pop tribute to Ellie's bestie and former bandmate – ironically titled mosh-rocker Fluffy and the slinky post-punk groove of recent single Giant Peach.
As well as being three of the LP's highlights, the fact each song sounds so different highlights the rather schizoid nature of the Wolf Alice sonic attack.
Some folks who should know better have already labelled them 'shoegrunge' (shudder), but while the Londoners can certainly deliver pedal-enhanced riffage with angsty quiet/loud kiss-offs like You're A Germ and the aforementioned Fluffy (the screamy climax of which allows Ellie to unleash her inner riot grrrl), the band set out to confound expectations from the get-go by opening with bionic slowie Turn To Dust, which is all choir girl vocals, drum machine pulses and woozy acoustic guitar noodling.
If that can be taken as a tip of the hat to the band's past as an acoustic girl duo (and if you like it, don't miss the stripped-back charms of hidden track Teach Me), the dynamic psychedelic romance of the anthemic Your Love's Whore is very much of the sound of a group pushing themselves to find bigger and better songs to grow into.
The surprises keep coming throughout My Love Is Cool: mid-album moment Silk takes things off on a spooky, synth-enhanced pop tangent that kind of sounds like it belongs on an Ellie solo LP, while drummer Joel takes the mic for the melancholy unplugged strummer Swallowtail to show off a fine falsetto croon that suggests he might have his own side-project waiting in the wings.
By throwing stuff like that into the mix along with the baggy beats of Freasy's easy breezy indiepop, Wolf Alice ensure that their debut LP offers a varied burst of creativity with plenty of light and shade to draw listeners in for repeated spins.
Rather than simply documenting their 12 strongest songs on My Love Is Cool – the cracking Moaning Lisa Smile and the EP tune We're Not The Same are conspicuous by their absence on that front – the band have instead set out to make a fresh and diverse yet cohesive record that reflects where they're at right now.
On that front, they have certainly succeed.
The NME are predicting Wolf Alice are 'gonna be big' but, regardless of fickle fame and fortune, My Love Is Cool is well worth swooning over.