Wolf Alice
Blue Weekend


4.7
superb

Review

by SowingSeason STAFF
June 4th, 2021 | 160 replies


Release Date: 06/04/2021 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A true coming-of-age record for a band that's been knocking on the door for some time now. Blue Weekend is indeed all it's hyped up to be.

The chief complaint with Wolf Alice’s Visions of a Life was a perceived lack of consistency. Detractors pointed to the way punk moments like ‘Yuk Foo’ contradicted the glossy sheen of ‘Heavenward’ and ‘Don’t Delete the Kisses’, and some even took it a step further by criticizing the line “I wanna fuck all the people I meet”, as if Ellie Roswell should be predisposed to writing well-behaved lyrics. But it was this kind of spontaneity that made Visions of a Life aggressively interesting; it’s what gave the album spunk, personality, and life. It’s also what made Wolf Alice feel like its own entity; a band capable of doing whatever it wanted without being constrained by a very particular set of criteria. It’s like Roswell sang in ‘Yuk Foo’, almost in anticipation of the song’s critics: “No, I don't give a shit / You bore me to death.”

That same spirit has found its way onto Blue Weekend, which to me at least, is very important. Had Wolf Alice retreated and churned out a safe, agreeable indie-pop record to avoid the same sort of backlash, it would have negated every self-empowering message delivered on that song. Instead, Blue Weekend seems lyrically bent on driving that splinter even deeper, all while projecting the lush atmospheres that they’ve always crafted upon freshly minted neon screens. No track embodies both worlds better than ‘Smile’, which is driven by its heavy guitar presence and biting cynicism, even if ever-so-sweetly sung: “I wear my feelings on my sleeve / It serves me better than to swallow in a sedative.” It goes from a clever one-liner to something of a mission statement when Roswell circles back only one verse later with “Now you all think I'm unhinged, well wind it up and this honeybee stings / Did you think I was a puppet on strings?” Where if before Wolf Alice found themselves testing various waters to see the reaction they’d get, Blue Weekend represents a band that has discovered its calling and is charging ahead full-throttle. In this case, the message is clear: Wolf Alice are going to do whatever they want, and they’re going to rock your socks off regardless.

Such powerful words wouldn’t mean anything if the music didn’t back it up. Thankfully, Blue Weekend is a glowing indie-rock powerhouse. It is lush and breathtaking, as we witness on career highlight ‘Delicious Things’, which sees Ellie's vocals careening between conversational/confessional verses and soaring, glistening layered choruses that collectively sound like the most revelatory and important moment in Roswell’s entire life. And it may very well be, as she sings in a romanticized way about finding herself – and realizing her full potential – far away from home: “I'll give it a shot for the spot at the top / A girl like mе, would you believe I'm in Los Angеles?” Elsewhere, the band plays to its angst-ridden, grungier side with satisfying results on ‘Play the Greatest Hits’, a ‘Yuk Foo’ sibling that deploys many of the same tactics almost if for no other reason that to deliver one more “fuck you” to that song’s detractors, and it even comes replete with a wry callback to that song’s "controversial" line: “Well, the fast life is fast…I fall in love with the first fucking creep to open his arms.”

Roswell’s refusal to be bottled up aside, Blue Weekend touches on a number of sensitive and personally revealing topics – relationships, friendships, introspection – and as you might expect, the results are gorgeous. From the heart-wrenching ‘No Hard Feelings’, which is as musically sparse as the fraying ties that Roswell so tenderly sings about (“The threads that kept us together were already wеaring thin / Would we ever havе tied the knot? Well, how long is a piece of string?) to the more instrumentally full-bodied and romantically longing side of that same coin, ‘Lipstick on the Glass’ (“Oh, but there's no pleasure in resisting, so go ahead and kiss me”), Wolf Alice covers an entire emotional spectrum across Blue Weekend’s runtime. By the record’s conclusion, however, all feels resolved. On ‘The Beach II’, Roswell sings about drinking “liquid rose” and spending time on the beach with her friends, a sensation captured by the repeated line “happy ever after”. It’s a sort of serene and calm-inducing note to end things on after such an up-and-down experience brimming with passion, and it makes for the perfect exhale.

Across all of Blue Weekend, one thing is very clear – this is Wolf Alice’s best offering to date, and one of those albums that qualifies as an event. It’s emotionally stirring, sonically riveting, and just as unpredictable as always. It’s the full realization of everything Wolf Alice ever aspired to be: poignant and melodic, raucous and edgy, and certainly every possible shade in between. It’s hard to ask much more of a modern indie-rock album than what Blue Weekend gives us, and I don’t think I’d want to ask anything of Wolf Alice at this point. As they’ve made it so abundantly clear, they’re at their absolute best when they follow their own directive – and my, what a path they’ve forged.

Don't call me mad
There's a difference, I am angry
And your choice to call mе cute has offended mе
I have power, there are people who depend on me

And now you all think I'm unhinged
Well, wind it up and this honeybee stings





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user ratings (129)
3.7
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
hobblepot
June 4th 2021


2502 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Album is really great, but I still prefer their previous effort

SowingSeason
Moderator
June 4th 2021


38099 Comments

Album Rating: 4.7

I have Visions of a Life at a 4.5 so it's close. I think this magnifies their sound to heights I didn't quite hear on previous efforts, so I'm in agreement with all the praise by other critics who are calling this their best.

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alexslavco
June 4th 2021


25 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Delicious Things is superb song

heck
June 4th 2021


5931 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

my vinyl copy is out for delivery now and this review is making me even more impatient

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WatchItExplode
June 4th 2021


8892 Comments


I was hoping this would be my sleeper for the week but did not enjoy it nearly as much as I had hoped.

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JesperL
Contributing Reviewer
June 4th 2021


3086 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

thought this was okay on first listen, will have to jam a few more times the coming days. wonderful review tho and v wild seeing a sowing .7 instead of a .0 or .5 again lol

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Atari
Staff Reviewer
June 4th 2021


26575 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3

If there’s anything like Heavenward I’ll prolly dig. Love that song

Slex
June 4th 2021


11440 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Agree about Delicious Things, best song here

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Chambered79
June 4th 2021


887 Comments


4.7??? so this must be like a 2

SowingSeason
Moderator
June 4th 2021


38099 Comments

Album Rating: 4.7

Atari I'd say Delicious Things edges out Heavenward and the whole album is also slightly more consistent

Chambered79
June 4th 2021


887 Comments


btw their s/t ep is their best stuff

Dewinged
Staff Reviewer
June 4th 2021


24533 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

Atari, big fan of Heavenward here, there's nothing even close, unfortunately.



Will read the rev later, but for me this was a bit of everything, good and bad.

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SowingSeason
Moderator
June 4th 2021


38099 Comments

Album Rating: 4.7

I don't even think Heavenward is the best song from Visions of a Life. Don't Delete the Kisses and the title track are tops for me.

Atari
Staff Reviewer
June 4th 2021


26575 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3

By far my favorite song by them but I shall report back later ;)





JesperL
Contributing Reviewer
June 4th 2021


3086 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

heavenward is v easily their best song for me as well, the floatier they go the better and this.. kinda does that but i wish they went harder (..or softer i suppose)

theBoneyKing
June 4th 2021


20555 Comments


I love Visions of a Life so I can't wait to hear this!

Ashtiel
June 4th 2021


1170 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

adored the last record, and i like this tho i feel like i should be enjoying it a lot more than i am currently. as far as initial positives: ellie's vocals here are on another level compared to most of their past work, and the overall sound of this thing is rlly huge in scale.

im gonna need some time to get better acquainted w these songs as it almost feels a little too grounded at times, but that's coming from someone who likes some of the band's more odd cuts like "Sadboy" a lot.

SowingSeason
Moderator
June 4th 2021


38099 Comments

Album Rating: 4.7

Definitely agreed about Ellie's vocals and how this thing just sounds huge. Visions of a Life is definitely more grounded and not so overproduced, so I think it will come down to a matter of preference for most regarding which style is better. They're both superb records in my estimation.

Divaman
June 4th 2021


11438 Comments


I picked this one up this morning. I have high hopes.

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anat
June 5th 2021


4224 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

lipstick on the glass is sooooo good

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