Showing posts with label wolf alice. Show all posts
Showing posts with label wolf alice. Show all posts

Thursday, November 30, 2017

video review: 'visions of a life' by wolf alice

Ehh... I have no illusions this review probably won't be received all that well - which yeah, is a bit disappointing, but hopefully a bit better than the last project of theirs, we'll see.

Next up... hmm, I've got a movie review coming, but I might have something very new on the horizon. Stay tuned!

album review: 'visions of a life' by wolf alice

I'm not even sure where to start with this one - and if you saw my last Wolf Alice review, you'll know why.

See, two years ago I did cover their critically acclaimed debut record My Love Is Cool, and unlike the majority of critics I wasn't really a fan, half because I wasn't convinced the band could differentiate themselves from their 90s influences like Hole, and half because when they tried to introduce modern elements into their sound I found them pretty underwhelming, not helped by a lot of overproduction and a lack of a defined edge, especially in the guitars. Yeah, the actual compositions and lyrics were easily the best part of the record, but good writing delivered without the raw presence or firepower to compliment the instrumentation can be a considerable letdown.

But again, the band won a lot of critical acclaim and if anything they were looking to get even more wild and experimental on their follow-up this year Visions Of A Life, swapping out producer Mike Crossey for Justin Mendel-Johnsen, a producer and musician with whom I've got the sort of history that doesn't exactly present a clean picture. Suffice to say he can have a bad habit of piling in distracting instrumental elements that can clutter the mix - and considering Wolf Alice had apparently put together a noisier, more eclectic record this time around, I had no idea if or how his style would click. But hey, the band won just as much if not more critical acclaim this time around, so I might as well talk about it two months late: what did I find on Visions Of A Life?

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

video review: 'my love is cool' by wolf alice

Man, I don't expect the reception to this review to be great, but you get those on occasion.

Next up... well, I was going to do Kamelot, but I really should deal with Carly Rae Jepsen or Vince Staples or Miguel. And then Tyga decided to drop an album out of fucking nowhere to the general indifference of everyone, so there's that too.

Eh, we'll see - stay tuned!

album review: 'my love is cool' by wolf alice

So I've mentioned a number of times, mostly on Billboard BREAKDOWN, that rock radio is basically irrelevant to the mainstream pop charts, at least in terms of defining larger trends. Yes, there are rock songs that are big that might even do well on the charts, but rock music doesn't tend to go viral in the same way a hip-hop track or pop song can, or mutate at the same rate that country currently is. And part of that is because rock doesn't grip the popular consciousness in the same way it has throughout other decades, to the point where the rock songs that take the charts are so wildly different that it's hard to pin down a distinctive sound. When I look at the top ten 'rock' songs on the charts right now, three are folk with the barest hint of rock, three are outright pop rock, one is closer to soul or blues than actual rock music - doesn't make Hozier any less awesome, but it's true - and 'Shut Up And Dance' would have been called new wave synthpop thirty years ago. Of the two remaining, one is Muse's 'Dead Inside' and I'd be stretching to say its sour brand of electronic rock with emo lyrics is quality, and the other is 'Believe' by Mumford & Sons and is just terrible. And that's it - no metal, no punk, nothing close to grunge or hardcore, and god help you if you're looking for one of the subgenres.

What I see when I look at the rock charts is no clear direction and nothing resembling hierarchies or leaders except maybe The Foo Fighters out of sheer longevity - mostly because 'rock' is becoming a catch-all for whatever has a guitar and is too rough-edged for pop or too heavy for country. And I'm not saying I want rock to be monochromatic or dominated by one sound - I lived through post-grunge and I don't want that again - but I get no sense of defined identity when I look at rock radio, and this has been an issue for a good few years now. It looks a lot less like diversity and more like throwing whatever they've got at the wall until something sticks - and this is an American issue. Us Canadians never really marginalized rock radio in the same way, and the indie folk rock boom is solidly entrenched up here. 

And honestly, it doesn't seem like a bad direction for the US to go either - at least indie rock is more colourful and interesting, and there's plenty of upstart acts looking to break in. Case in point: Wolf Alice, a UK-based band that started off in the poppier side of indie folk before drifting towards heavier, grunge-inspired instrumentation and signing to the same label as The 1975. Like Misterwives, they spent last year building buzz and now have dropped a debut album that has come highly recommended from a few other critics, so I took a look at My Love Is Cool - do we have our new indie rock leaders?