Wolf Alice

Visions Of A Life

Dirty Hit Records

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Zeitgeist-capturing indie-pop balladeers, restless sonic experimenters or just Mumford & Sons with a fuzzbox? It's hard to pin down Wolf Alice, the London four-piece whose 2015 debut My Love Is Cool won them a Mercury Music Prize nomination and whose second has been recorded under the watchful eye of Justin Meldal-Johnsen, producer and musical helpmate to Beck and Nine Inch Nails among others. Second time out, diversity is the watchword once again. Lead single Yuk Foo is like a potty-mouthed homage to Bikini Kill and sees singer Ellie Rowsell screaming “I don't give a s***” through what sounds a lot like a bullhorn. Beautifully Unconventional recalls Britpop band Sleeper at their whip-smart best while Sky Musings starts like a Tricky song voiced by Jane Birkin before opening out into a widescreen dream pop epic. The shimmering, acoustic guitar-tinged Planet Hunter slows things down, as does After The Zero Hour, with its airy atmospherics, but those songs sandwich pop-punk stomper Space & Time and its companion piece Formidable Cool, which see Rowsell and fellow guitarist Joff Oddie losing themselves in squalls of guitar. Rounding it all off is the eight minute title track, which has a little bit of everything. Plenty to admire here, not least the energy, confidence and ambition.

BARRY DIDCOCK