Wolf Alice
Visions of a Life


3.5
great

Review

by Mort. CONTRIBUTOR (55 Reviews)
November 14th, 2017 | 21 replies


Release Date: 2017 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Visions of a directionless mess of a life

Visions of a Life was one of my most anticipated albums of the year, and yet I wasn’t surprised when it disappointed me. I think I knew in my heart that Wolf Alice wouldn’t come through with anything transcendentally brilliant, some masterwork to cement their place in indie rock history. And they haven’t; Visions of a Life is a solid effort, but as an album it’s more a collection of songs than something cohesive you could put your finger on.

The most striking example of this lack of stylistic consistency is the first two tracks. Opener “Heavenward” is a sombre affair – a song about the death of a friend that has a sort of resigned sadness to it, a bittersweet beauty. As the track soars into the chorus with its calls of “go heavenward”, prompted by a dreary “and long to see you when it’s my turn”, its dreamy quality becomes that sort of sky gazing contemplation I think we have all felt when life gives us death lemons, making it an extremely striking opener. “Yuk Foo”, a decent tune if not for its annoyingly rockin vibe and cry of “I don’t give a ***!”, which reminds me of Wolf Alice’s *** attempts to be a punk band from the last LP, seems like the complete anti-thesis of “Heavenward” . Its main achievement is therefore that it successfully bulldozes the contemplative atmosphere “Heavenward” so carefully constructed in a matter of seconds. Bravo Wolf Alice.

This shoddy track listing then continues with “Beautifully Unconventional”, a barebones guitar-licking track with a 50s inspired video that serves as another curveball and just made me wonder what the *** is going on here". Now, I’m all for musicians stretching their limits, but I just think that if they’re gonna do it all on one album there has to be some clever track listing so that the whole thing doesn’t fall apart. For Wolf Alice this problem does sort of go away towards the mid-end half of the album, but that’s only because the songs then fall into the sort of mid-paced melodic indie-rock matched with grungy choruses they’re already known for (where the nicely melodic bits are ruined by the heavy-handed grung-y choruses anyway).

Although, it is true that they’ve implemented some new tricks. Visions of a Life draws on a wider range of influences and motifs than last time, with some cold post-punk-y synths sticking their head in at points and even a full blown folks-y track in the form of “After the Zero Hour”. Tellingly though, the serene beauty “After the Zero Hour” conveys is rudely disturbed by the closer with its sort of bombastic stadium-rock woaaaah-ness, indicating the final nail in the cohesion coffin as Wolf Alice try to have their cake and eat it.



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user ratings (107)
Chart.
3.5
great
other reviews of this album
Christopher Y. (3.5)
Expansions of the same vision....


Comments:Add a Comment 
Mort.
Contributing Reviewer
November 14th 2017


14171 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

had to real trouble writing this and getting my thoughts together so apologies if this is a bit substandard

Digging: Dead Kennedys - Plastic Surgery Disasters

AngryJohnny
November 14th 2017


888 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Doesn't really read like a 3.5.



Thought this was better than their debut but I agree that it lurches around stylistically

danielcardoso
November 14th 2017


11770 Comments


The video for Don't Delete The Kisses is my new favorite thing.

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
November 14th 2017


15045 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Review is on point Mort, exactly how I felt the album. The opener blew my mind to be followed by the disappointment of Yuk Foo. Like what were they thinking...



Still the good tracks overshadow the few stones in this for me.

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Mort.
Contributing Reviewer
November 15th 2017


14171 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

glad i apparently hit the nail on the head

Atari
Staff Reviewer
November 16th 2017


24338 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Good review. Echoed my thoughts on the first 2 tracks as well

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Mort.
Contributing Reviewer
November 16th 2017


14171 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

thank you





yanagimary
November 16th 2017


19 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah, when I first listened to the singles I was worried this wouldn't be very cohesive. I still like it, though, Beautifully Unconventional is incredibly catchy.

brandontaylor
November 19th 2017


783 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

the lack of cohesiveness doesnt hurt the album for me but i agree that the track listing couldve been more strategic

Atari
Staff Reviewer
December 8th 2017


24338 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Man I love the opening track, just wish I felt as strongly about the rest

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
December 8th 2017


15045 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Same here man, I dont get the radical style switch in the second track.

Mort.
Contributing Reviewer
December 9th 2017


14171 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

glad u agree

ProjectFreak
December 11th 2017


3444 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I actually really like this, even if Heavenward is head and shoulders above the rest. But I generally like genre-switching like this

theBoneyKing
December 15th 2017


16133 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is pretty great. The closer slays.

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rasi
October 3rd 2018


98 Comments


This keeps growing on me. Planet Hunter, Formidable Cool, Heavenwood, Sadboy and especially the title track are very good. And the band slays live.

Mort.
Contributing Reviewer
October 3rd 2018


14171 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

yeah i saw them live just after this came out, they were pretty dope



surprised they won the mercury prize tho. dont think they really deserved it, but then again most of the winners rarely do





theNateman
December 19th 2018


3609 Comments


This is really good. Great chilling at home while snowed in music.

zakalwe
December 19th 2018


26677 Comments


Oooh. I’m interested, will give it a proper whirl.

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SowingSeason
Moderator
December 29th 2018


29860 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This is so so much better than I remembered

Bumped to a 4.5

NorthernSkylark
March 12th 2019


9126 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

don't delete is kinda grimes

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