Following up on the well-received debut release My Love is Cool, four piece alternative rock outfit Wolf Alice find themselves coming down from cloud nine to tackle their sophomore album, and building off the momentum that gave them a cult following. Enter Visions of a Life, an eclectic 12 track ride that can best be summed up as ambitious. While ambitious can be construed as both a positive and negative connotation, fans can rest easy knowing that Wolf Alice leaned more towards the positive end of the spectrum, creating a truly experimental journey that demonstrates their collective musical influences.
From the vibe given off from the opening track “Heavenward” to the energy felt in the proceeding track “Yuk Foo,” it becomes evident almost instantaneously how diverse the sophomore release truly is. Even with “Yuk Foo” being a bit more abrasive than a typical Wolf Alice track, various components within its makeup give cohesion to the track, and add to the experiential pallet that the group has constructed. While “Yuk Foo” doesn’t remain quite as memorable as some of the other tracks, it still stands out as a bold push forward, and an experimental trek into unfamiliar terrain.
Among one of the more repeat-worthy tracks on the release, “Beautifully Unconventional” has a depth a bulk of listeners should be able to relate to, in addition to possessing wonderful melodic cohesiveness with the group to boot. The track serves as an anthem for the ones who don’t follow the trends, and serves as a celebration for the underdogs. In tandem with the idea of taking pride in standing out from the crowd, “Beautifully Unconventional” walks the walk by standing out on Visions of a Life in the most beautifully unconventional manner.
Another track that remains memorable both for lyrical relatability and melodic flow is “Don’t Delete the Kisses.” Though the general subject matter of feeling like a hopeless romantic is nothing groundbreaking in the music scene, the lyrics possess such detail in an entrancing string of events listeners can’t help but get caught up in. The feelings of not being able to shake someone out of your head become all too real as the track progresses. The fairy tale ending on the track is surprisingly fitting given the mood for the bulk of the song, and remains an earworm inducing track on multiple fronts.
On a poetic standpoint, “Sky Musings” serves as a track that possesses a lot of depth and reflection. The weight of angst can be felt in every word spoken by vocalist Ellie Rowsell as she describes in-depth thoughts of what-if scenarios that can happen on a long distance flight. Based off the idea that people think much more reflectively on long flights, with the passenger’s life essentially resting in the hands of one individual, “Sky Musings” serves as a very depressing, yet realistic way of looking at life, and wonderfully demonstrates how individuals can live their life in a similar manner.
From the first couple spins, it’s apparent that Visions of a Life is a very diverse piece of work, with each track possessing components that separate their sounds from one another. On the more toned-down and melodically soothing end of the spectrum, “After the Zero Hour” stands as a track that demonstrates some of the folk influences, while “Yuk Foo” stands on the other end of the spectrum with its brash and blunt take on the expectations that are made of one another. However, Visions of a Life, can’t simply be summed up by the black and white ends of a musical spectrum. Like the journeys we all take in life, the various parts cannot easily be summarized or lumped into categories, and drift into an abyss of wandering experiences and grey area. It’s evident that Wolf Alice’s vision of a life is one focused on having new experiences, and doing what makes you happy regardless of the expectations set by others.