I’m tapping into another London-based band this week, not all-female but led by a female vocalist.  Wolf Alice formed back in 2010 as a duo and released an EP, but grew to their current quartet in 2012.  The band released a number of singles before releasing an EP in 2013 which got a lot of positive press.  Comparisons to Garbage, Elastica and the Pixies were inevitable once you hear their sound.  Another EP in 2014 led to their first proper album which came out last June.  “My Love Is Cool” actually earned a Mercury Prize nomination (best of British and Irish artists – 12 nominations each year).  The band’s singer, Ellie Rowsell, is a strong vocalist and a focal point of the band.  Their music has a lot of styles, in addition to the artists already mentioned, I also hear some PJ Harvey, some earlier Smashing Pumpkins – a whole host of the original “alternative” bands.  The band does have their own unique sound though, use just pick up elements that reflect some of their influences.  A lot of energy, but there are also some softer moments on the album.  I was surprised how much I liked it, but not really since I’m a fan of much of the music reflected in their sound.  I’m surprised Wolf Alice isn’t more popular.  They are touring with Chvrches, who will be playing 2 nights at the Fox Theater in Oakland.  That should be a pretty good show.  Here’s a sampling of 3 tracks from “My Love Is Cool”.
“Your Loves Whore” – Maybe my favorite song on the album, I like how the song slowly builds up at the beginning.  Drums come in first, then some guitar followed by a nice bass line.  The intensity continues to build as some more guitar comes into the mix before the instruments all dial it up at once and kick into a nice groove while Rowsell comes in with some background vocals.  The sound is simplified again as they go into the first verse, with some nice starts/stops for an added effect.  The bass plays a prominent role during the verses.  This makes the music that much more effective when everyone kicks in at full-throttle.  Rowsell’s vocals also match the intensity of the music, with understated singing during the simpler parts and multi-layered scream it from the rooftops during the louder parts.

“Turn To Dust” – This song kicks off the album and is an example of the quieter side of the band.  Ethereal vocals are nicely surrounded by spare music with many interesting effects coming in and out throughout the song.    There’s some very nice guitar layered in the mix as well.

“You’re A Germ” – Here we see some of the PJ Harvey and Pixies influences.  Quieter verses and bombastic guitar squealing kicking in for dramatic measure.  Plus I like the putdown “you’re a germ”.

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