2015 may well be the Chinese Year of the Sheep, but it is very much that of the Wolf round these parts.
Wolf Alice have recently been sharpening their teeth as support to Alt-J but their own biggest headline tour to date now beckons – they have just landed in America and will be getting their claws into the UK come the end of March.
New single “Giant Peach” was Zane Lowe’s “Hottest Record of the Week” on Tuesday night and with it came the news thousands of die hard Wolverines (probably not what Wolf Alice fans are calling themselves) have been longing for. Debut album “My Love is Cool” will be released on June 22nd.
Speaking to us before the announcement, Joff Oddie (guitarist and lover of Velvet Underground) wasn’t able to give too much away but did say that the album will feature two re-records of old tracks and (off the top of his head) 12 new tracks.
It’s been a long road for the London band who released first EP “Blush” in 2013, followed up by 2014’s “Creature Songs”. But it’s a journey they have relished.
“We love it, we wouldn’t do it unless we loved it. We get to see different places and it’s great. It’s what we always wanted to do. Of course it’s hard work in a lot of respects, but that’s part of the fun really.
“Everything’s definitely been ramped up now. The album’s been done. We were doing a lot of touring last year, demoing, writing and recording so I mean we were away a lot last year but nothing really comparable to the amount we’re away at the moment.”
If the Wolf is the snarling, savage side to a band once heralded as the “lovechild of folk and grunge”, Alice is the gentler, sweeter, more melodic half. Multifarious styles are fused together by captivating pop sensibilities, singer Ellie Rowsell the perfect embodiment. Her demure stature belies the fiercest passion and a voice that can go from angelic to Hell’s Angel at the strum of a chord.
Joff, who managed to go from rock ‘n’ roll to sausage roll when telling me his uncle was managing director at Oddie’s Bakery, believes the band is a very different animal when it takes to the stage
“I think when we play live, I think our tracks, you can easily lump them into one category. More than with the recorded stuff. We like our live shows to be visceral and fairly raw and rocky.
“But I mean when you go into a studio there’s no reason to do that. We’ve always said we’re kind of products of our generation musically and the way we digest it as we’ve grown up. We’re internet babies really. We’ve grown up not really going out and buying records. I’m gonna get £5 a week so I’m only going to be able to get one record. I’m going to be a rocker or am I going to be a new wave kid or a goth. We’ve digested so much music in such a mad kind of way. You can hear 10 seconds of a track on iTunes or flick around on YouTube. It’s almost a bit schizophrenic.
“The big one for me is The Velvet Underground. They used really leftfield ideas and sounds and storylines but kind of merged them with pop writing. They kind of made the leftfield more accessible – if there are poppy elements in your songs then there is something on the album for everyone. People are then going to more inclined to have a go at the leftfield stuff. So I’d hope that the people into the ‘Bros’ kind of stuff are going to have a go at listening to the heavier stuff.”
And fans can certainly expect a more mature, a more evolved Wolf Alice when they return to these shores for a tour which takes in Manchester Ritz on Thursday, March 26th.
“I think we’ve got better. We’ve got better on our instruments, better in the studio in being able to execute the ideas that we have. We’ve got better at songwriting. These songs on the album, some of them are old, some fairly old, some of them are really, really new. A lot of them we kind of wrote and then demoed and we kind of thought ‘right, that’s an album track, we really want to hold that back, not play it live and wait until the album’s out and show people then’.
“We will be playing a selection of new tracks come the tour, not literally everything. We want to keep people guessing. But there’ll definitely be a couple of new tracks in there.”