Wolf Alice released their debut album, My Love Is Cool, on June 23. The much-anticipated album follows behind two successful EPs—Blush (2013) and Creature Songs (2014). Formed in 2010, the British four-piece hailing from London consists of lead vocalist Ellie Roswell, guitarist Joff Oddie, bassist Theo Ellis, and drummer Joel Amey.
My Love Is Cool is hardly the typical play-it-safe, few-tracked debut album. Consisting of twelve songs—and a thirteenth hidden track—the album experiments with sounds and themes influenced by a number of genres, including folk-pop, grunge, and indie.
Tracks such as the leadoff “Turn to Dust” fuse the light and airy sounds of new-age and indie pop with bold and dark lyrics—“Keep your beady eyes on me / To make sure I don’t turn to dust” are the first lines of many in the dark, serious lyrical theme consistent throughout much of the album. The balance between the calm music and unnerving lyrics returns in songs like “Lisbon” and “Soapy Water.”
My Love Is Cool also shows hints of artistic musical effects—the album’s sixth track, “Silk,” begins with a synthesizer muted just enough to seem like it’s submerged in water. The intro lasts long enough to establish an eerie sense of calm before clearing into a simplistic, heartbeat-like riff and the always-strong vocals of Roswell.
Among the most impressive tracks on the album is “Swallowtail,” the only song to feature Oddie, and not Roswell, on lead vocals. The dreamlike ballad again brings back the dark lyrics featured on much of the album: “Swallowtail, I met you up atop the shard / As we fell, I never thought we’d hit this hard.” Only at the coda does the song progress to a more upbeat and lighter instrumental sound.
Wolf Alice fills their album with much more than the otherworldly, dreamlike music of these songs, however. At times, My Love Is Cool is streaked with the distorted guitar tones reminiscent of ‘90s grunge and shrill, gritty vocals heard from singers of the Riot Grrrl movement of the same decade. Songs like “You’re a Germ” and “Fluffy” show that Roswell’s tone can go from light and dreamy to harsh and passionate (think Enya to Kathleen Hanna) in mere seconds. It’s this balance and versatility that make Wolf Alice a band to keep your eyes on—My Love Is Cool may be their debut, but the four-piece is certainly destined for bigger and better things in the time to come.