Wolf Alice – Blush (EP) (Chess Club Records)
We’ve been tracking the progress of North London’s Wolf Alice for the past 12 or so months now and at long last the trio is about to drop their long awaited EP, ‘Blush’.
Developing the songs beyond their live favourite statuses after a prolonged season of touring and lauded festival appearances at Latitude, Secret Garden Party and many more, ‘Blush’ captures the energy of the band’s much talked about live shows.
The EP’s moody, slow-burning title track is up first. Beginning with a sweet guitar arpeggio, courtesy of guitarist Joff, and Ellie Roswell’s goose-bump inducing melodic vocals if Wolf Alice had a ballad at this stage in the career, “Blush” would be it. Around 2:10 drums and washes of distorted guitar enter creating a dreamy haze and sending the listener into an involuntary sway. Listen out for drummer Joel Amey’s harmonies throughout, which compliment Ellie’s vocals perfectly.
“She”, which we reviewed at the end of August, follows next and immediately lifts the energy. In fact, “She” is the most urgent we’ve heard the band to date. “She” recalls all the glory of Elastica – only harder rocking. A distorted-bass and up-tempo drum rhythm combine while the guitar initially plays more a textural role…that is until all anticipation is fulfilled when 45 seconds later guitars let loose, distortion kicks in and a euphoric chorus is delivered.
The up-tempo, poppy “Nosedive” showcases a C-86 styling and is by far the most immediate, direct and accessible of the four tracks.
Keeping the listener on their toes by continually introducing new colours, the fourth and final track “90 Minute Beach” begins with a hushed delicacy before unraveling into an absolute beast. While we can’t quite put our finger on it exactly there’s definitely something about Wolf Alice that’s reminiscent of Smashing Pumpkins circa 1993 – 1995 both sonically and creatively. This is particularly true of the aforementioned “90 Minute Beach” which recalls a “Geek U.S.A” type schizophrenia; a combination of sweet, soft sections, shoegaze-like, dreamy sections, and facing-melting rock.
Far from being a run-of-the-mill guitar band with predictable pop structures and derivative genre-restricted melodies, Wolf Alice manage to incorporate ample hooks and melody but with creative arrangements. Take “She” for example: while only 3:12 in duration, its arrangement is journeying and somehow creates the illusion of the song being epic. Book-ended between two brilliantly rocking sides is a delicate and hushed middle section that takes place around 1:35 – 2:15 and miraculously the break feels like a natural respite despite the fact at the song is only 90 seconds in.
We’ve been listening to this one for a couple of weeks now and we can comfortably say this is most one of our favourites for 2013.
‘Blush’ will be released digitally on 7 October, 2013 as well as limited edition 10″ vinyl on 14 October, 2013. Pre-order the vinyl now from Rough Trade.
Listen to the title track below:
Update 7 October, 2013 – the video for “She” has just been released. Watch below:
Update 7 November, 2013 – the video for “Blush” has just been released. Watch below: