It seems like forever ago that Wolf Alice released their third album, an LP that I was sent to review almost three months before its actual release date. The time I spent with this album before the world had a chance to listen to it was special, driving through hill and countryside late at night with the album on repeat and curious friends in the passenger seats. It would be easy for me to hold this album in high regards for these memories alone (and I would do) but despite this conditioning the south London quarter managed to produce the most cohesive work of their careers and comfortably one of the best albums of the 2020’s so far, and for that I am thankful. Because as mentioned previous, the emotional connection I had built to this collection of vibrating air had very little to do with how said air was vibrating and I could have very easily fought and died on a terribly embarrassing hill for the rest of my days, but no.
Nothing made me happier to hear that they had a new release set, even though it was going to just be an EP of acoustic covers featuring songs from Blue Weekend, new Wolf Alice music is new Wolf Alice music and always something to look forward to. This is especially true when the album the covers are being made from is the bands most personal already, before stripping it of its bells and whistles. Track 1, How Can I Make It Ok?, is one that really surprised me off the bat. Though I’m a fan of the original, it was never close to my favourite tracks off the LP but this cover is nothing short of stunning. Nothing falls short throughout and it goes to highlight more than ever the unquestionable brilliance of Rowsell’s vocals. In fact that is a running theme for the whole EP so let me just say this once and then I will leave you, this is by far the best showing of vocal talent the ‘guitar music’ world has seen in years.
Track 2, Lipstick on the Glass, was a great addition to the EP. Seeing a song that felt so grandiose be shrunken so starkly was beautiful and the melodies from the band as a whole were brilliant. Unfortunately track 3, No Hard Feelings, seemed to do the opposite of this. Its stripped back original didn’t really need anything to be done to it and almost would’ve fit with having to be covered, not that the acoustic cover was bad, nothing on this EP is, but it’s almost a shame to take up a space with this track and omit a cut like Delicious Things, which I would have loved to see get the Lip on the Glass treatment.
The EP then finishes just as strong as it started, with Feeling Myself and finally the track that started this journey for the band, Last Man on Earth. The former really does benefit from being stripped to the bone, putting the brilliant lyrics above what was the instrumental front and centre in the original version. For the last song, though the first minute and half is incredibly similar to the original the choir of vocals used as you approach the final third of the track is one of the high points of Wolf Alice’s entire discography. It’s only fitting that the band finished this EP with the lead single from their album, a song that was at the time the bands most stripped bare has just been topped by an entire EP, stunning.
Blue Lullaby will be released via Dirty Hit Records on June 24 2022