Dark and demonic, spacey and airy, and poppy and carefree, Wolf Alice’s follow up to 2015’s My Love Is Cool tests the boundaries that were considered anything and everything under the sun. The only difference is on 2017’s Visions of a Life, the band includes just about everything under the sun a traditional indie alternative rock can throw a rope around. With a raucous reminder that guitar is still (and most likely always will be) front and center, Wolf Alice’s ability to weave in and out of light and dark nuances is rooted in their ability to elevate and compose on the guitar, as if poking other band members on the shoulder for their response. And with guitar being a golden calf of sorts for the group (low and behold, there are two guitarists in the group), “Sadboy” explores the horizon of Wolf Alice’s repertoire that typically end up emphasizing elements of alternative hard rock. Kicking off like Pearl Jam’s 1993 mammoth, “Daughter” with only double hi-hats and acoustic guitar, “Sadboy” gradually rises with dooming effects in the chorus that are split up with a demonic breakdown. And on the colossus “Visions of a Life” where all cards are laid on the table, the listener is notified once more that distortion and cymbal-laden drum parts aren’t secluded to Rock or Metal, despite hearing the slightest nodes of both.
When listening to Visions of a Life, it doesn’t take a whizkid to realize it’s dark demeanor. But what’s astonishingly unique about this release is not it’s damn-near violent mystique, it’s also the magnifying dynamics within instruments and effects that act more like the hills of a roller coaster. In natural Wolf Alice fashion, every song encapsulates unmatched light and shade, except the shade part is dark – deviantly dark.