Wolf Alice present Visions Of A Life in all its variety

Wolf Alice
Wolf Alice

Pupils stun crowds at capital fundraiser

Black Star Riders: from left, Scott Gorham, Chad Szeliga, Ricky Warwick,  Robbie Crane and Damon Johnson.  Picture by Richard Stow

Black Star Riders come under Heavy Fire on their latest tour

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When Wolf Alice released the first single from their second album in June this year, it grabbed you with both hands, shook you hard and forced you to take notice.

The expletive-filled Yuk Foo is 133 thrilling seconds that could strip paint while frontwoman Ellie Rowsell’s screams pin you back.

‘I don’t know where it came from,’ Ellie tells The Guide. ‘I wanted something that would be fun to play live, it’s just a big outburst of energy and rage – a lot of people have it, but it’s kind of a performance piece as well. It’s all coming from me, but I would probably never say those things in an actual argument, it’s exaggerated.’

But second single Don’t Delete The Kisses took a swerve into dreamy pop with Ellie delivering a swooning vocal.

It’s this unwillingness to be pigeonholed that has won the London four-piece a huge legion of fans. Their first album, My Love Is Cool went gold and hit number two in the charts.

On its release in September, album two, Visions Of A Life matched their debut – also hitting number two in the charts. But their reputation as a blistering live act has seen them playing in ever-larger venues, this tour culminates at the 10,000 capacity Alexandra Palace.

Has following up the success of My Love... played on their minds at all?

‘It’s always nice to surpass your previous work, but I feel like I would only be worried about it if I didn’t like it, and I really like it, so it’s okay.’

The album was recorded in LA with Justin Meldal-Johnsen, who worked on some of the band’s favourite albums, including the Raveonettes’ Pe’Ahi album, the only album Ellie had ever checked to see who produced it.

So what was going to LA like?

‘We only did it because we had a producer we really wanted to work with, and he only works from his home, and he lives in Los Angeles. We worked six days a week with long days in the studio. It could have been anywhere – it was a lovely studio, but we were in the studio most of the time.

‘I wouldn’t say that recording our first album was missing anything, but Justin’s a musician first and foremost and has a musician’s ear and knows what it ‘s like to be in a band, which helps. He’s got a vast musical knowledge and has very broad tastes which didn’t conflict with ours.’

There was no time for partying, then? ‘Well, we did a fair bit of partying too...’ Ellie admits. ‘But I’m always well behaved.’

While Wolf Alice’s music isn’t political, its members have started to use their voices in political areas. Her and band bassist Theo Ellis have started the charity Bands For Refugees and the singer fronted a Labour video urging people to register to vote before the deadline.

‘With social media at the moment, it means I can use my voice in ways that don’t seep in to my music, I can keep it separate, I have my own voice that‘s separate to the band – I don’t speak for all of us, and I’m slowly getting to grips with that and what it means.’

And she adds: ‘I think there’s a distrust of the mainstream media at the moment – from myself included – and with social media, WE were the news now.

‘But I often struggle to form my own opinions and to know where to look to teach me about important things.

‘I look to people I admire or musicians or artists I like. I want to have a clear idea of what’s right or wrong, and I don’t feel that’s being clearly expressed very well across the world.

‘If I can tell people what I think when I have confidence that what I think is right,’ she laughs at how that sounds, ‘I’m lucky enough to have a platform to do that.’

WOLF ALICE

Brighton Dome

Monday, November 20

O2 Guildhall, Southampton

Tuesday, November 21

wolfalice.co.uk