Do British bands still care about breaking America?
If the swathe of limey acts turning out for Austin’s recent South by Southwest Festival is anything to go by then yes, they do.
Wolf Alice are a band certainly putting in the hours across the pond, finishing up at the Texas festival after a fairly extensive stint stateside.
The London four-piece may be some way off conquering the good old US of A, but back on these shores, it’s becoming a very different story.
An underground buzz band for so long, Wolf Alice are now sinking their teeth into the mainstream. They’ve become a permanent fixture on Radio One’s playlist – station boss Ben Cooper even highlighting their growing cultural relevance when bashing Madonna’s latest track – and demand isn’t stopping at the airwaves.
Back in November they played the claustrophobic Manchester Club Academy. On Thursday it was The Ritz and a performance more than befitting that rapidly rising reputation.
“Fluffy” is unleashed first,its thrashing guitars and snarling chorus, the perfect mood-setter before “She” grabs the already sweat soaked crowd by the scruff of the neck and squeezes, relenting only at the sound of Ellie Rowsell’s hypnotic coos.
“One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, you ain’t going heaven” she screams during the angst driven dark and dingy “You’re A Germ”. It’s in stark contrast to the preceding“Blush”, a spectral shoe-gazing affair littered with twinkling sentiment and an example of just how far-reaching their sound is.
Debut album “My Love is Cool” comes out on June 22nd. They’ve said the album is “100% not grunge”. Given the multifarious styles they’ve dabbled in since before first EP “Blush” (folk, 90s alt rock, grunge, psychedelic pop, rock pop, indie pop - insert any pop prefix) “My Name Is Love” will not be 100% any genre.
New tracks “Soappy Water” and “The Wonderwhy” slide into the setlist like long lost friends while old favourite “Bros” is as charming as ever.
Lead single “Giant Peach” again showcases the band’s heavier, darker side – Rowsell’s spoken verse pursued by the kind of primal shriek that crawls up your spine and digs its claws in. By the time the band thrash out the irrepressibly anthemic “Moaning Lisa Smile” Manchester is howling its appreciation.
America can wait. Wolf Alice are ours. Enjoy them.