Album Review – My Love Is Cool / Wolf Alice

Wolf Alice have been on the British hype train for at least three years at this point, although they differ from the likes of Palma Violets and Peace for having their reputation built up. My Love Is Cool has endured waves upon waves of hype only to be met with two EPs. It’s interesting to see the outcome of a band who has decided to hone their craft in order to put out a more refined debut, the kind that would define a generation rather than make fleeting remarks about it. My Love Is Cool is testament to the fact that slow and steady does win the race. Instead of a slew of garage-rock songs, My Love Is Cool takes on a range of styles, from folk on the first song ‘Turn Into Dust’ to pop on ‘Freazy’. This rounds out the album into something that nods to many different genres and makes My Love Is Cool an excellent debut that has taken its time to mature into something that won’t be around just for a couple of months.

‘Swallowtail’ is an unusual and surprisingly well-worked out song by Wolf Alice, as it mostly features acoustic guitar and is sung by drummer Joel Amey. His vocals aren’t as immediate as lead singer Ellie Rowsell, but the lyrics ‘As we fell / I never thought we’d hit this hard’ are undoubtedly the personal lyrics of Wolf Alice.. There’s even a Radiohead-esque guitar interlude that sounds like something from In Rainbows. However, the acoustic pleasantry is never far away from the darker side of Wolf Alice, as the timing changes for the last minute into a Foo Fighters-alike guitar-off aided by some spectacular phasers. ‘Fluffy’ digs the same sort of overblown guitars, although this track is an old favourite from the pre-EP Wolf Alice. It still stands up against the newer tracks, with its youthful freedom lyrics of ‘Searching for cheap thrills the way I know how’ and Rowsell’s boosted screaming that never sounds tough on the ears. It’s been upgraded in the production department since its last outing, but unlike ‘Bros’, it succeeds in delivering the rawness of the original.

My Love Is Cool succeeds where others have failed because it has taken its time to be rounded and doesn’t have a bad song. Only ‘Freazy’ and ‘Soapy Water’ are sub-par Wolf Alice songs. ‘Soapy Water’ goes wild on the reverb, the lyrics occasionally dive into indie-philosophical-vagueness with ‘Cause nothing heals, misery is bliss’ and ‘The sky is in tears’. This is one of the only times Rowsell’s vocals fail her as she sounds subdued. On the other hand, ‘Lisbon’ is where the entire band can excel. The thundering drums, the lyrics ‘I would lick your wounds and care’ and the freak-out after the chorus is euphoric and one of the crowning moments of the album. The band is no doubt tight, most likely due to the time playing live and building up to the release together. They sound like they aren’t performing apart from each other, but are a singular unit, which is extremely welcome.

My Love Is Cool is one of the most refreshing debuts by a band in years. It sounds like a band not trying to assert themselves as living up to the hype, but as a band who is willing to experiment with many different styles on their debut. It comes as no surprise that Wolf Alice can write a decent song after three years of testing the waters. This leads My Love Is Cool to be a collection of their past greatest hits ‘Bros’ and ‘Fluffy’ as well as the future hits ‘Giant Peach’ and ‘Lisbon’. The old songs don’t sound like they are overbearing on the new material, the reworking of several tracks gives them a new lease of life and a new lick of life. Rowsell is one of the most charismatic and worthy frontwomen of modern times and several songs here (‘Your Love’s Whore’, ‘Giant Peach’) allow her to flex her songwriting and vocal muscles. In the words of Public Enemy, Don’t Believe The Hype.

8/10

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