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Friday, May 18, 2018

Visions of a Life

I've enjoyed listening to Visions of a Life, the second album by British band Wolf Alice. I initially was interested in the group because of their name (it's from an Angela Carter story), proof that interesting names and titles can get you business.

So what kind of group is Wolf Alice? Hard to say, because they excel in making each song on the record sound different. So many groups find one sound and then repeat it over and over again, but not this one. Wikipedia classifies them as "alternative rock, indie rock," which I guess covers a lot of ground. They show their range best, I think, with the transition from track 2, a head-banger called "Yuk Foo," in which lead singer Ellie Rowsell yowls, "I wanna fuck all the people I meet Fuck all my friends and all the people in the street" to "Beautifully Unconventional," which has a pleasant pop sound that recalls The Sundays.

Later in the record there is a lovely folk sound in "After the Zero Hour," and the title track is a seven-minute-plus psychedelic epic, with some great drumming by Joel Amey.

I do have a bone to pick with Wolf Alice, though. The lyrics are impossible to make out in the songs, but are printed in the liner notes. But they are printed in small white letters on a light gray background, thus necessitating a magnifying glass to see them. I suppose an eagle could read them, if an eagle could read. So I had to check out their lyrics on a web site. The songs are mostly about feeling unmoored and confused while in one's twenties (I can relate, if I can remember that far back). But if you want to write meaningful lyrics, try to make them clear in the mix, and beyond that, make them legible in the printed material. Here is a sample from the title track:

"Why do I feel so strange?
A nuclear family and friends my own age
I follow the rules, do what it says on the tin but
I'm still on the outside still looking in
Why was I born with itchy feet?
And why do I hate all the people I meet?
People's ideals give me the chills to the bone
I got 1 thousandmillion friends and I feel so alone"

It's a great record, though.

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