With their distinctive blend of vintage ’90s indie rock, folk, electronic, and dream pop, Wolf Alice are one of the most eclectic bands of the 2010s and 2020s. They’re also one of the most acclaimed: The North London group’s 2015 debut album My Love Is Cool — which highlighted the delicacy and ferocity of Ellie Rowsell’s vocals and lyrics — counted Grammy Award and Mercury Prize nominations among its many accolades. The band won the Mercury Prize for 2017′s Visions of a Life, an album that added more elements, as well as more polish, to their music, and on 2021′s anthemic yet atmospheric Blue Weekend, Wolf Alice’s ambitions and horizons continued to grow.
Wolf Alice formed in 2010, when singer/songwriter Ellie Rowsell and guitarist Joff Oddie began playing as an acoustic duo and took their name from a short story by Angela Carter. After issuing a self-titled EP, the group expanded into a quartet with the addition of drummer Joel Amey and bassist Theo Ellis. This fleshed-out, electrified incarnation of the band released their debut single “Fluffy” in February 2013 on the Chess Club label, with “Bros” following in May. Wolf Alice’s official debut EP, Blush, appeared that October and garnered positive reviews, with some critics comparing the group to Elastica, Garbage, the Duke Spirit, and Pixies. The following year, they signed to Dirty Hit and issued their second EP Creature Songs in May.
A pair of singles, “Giant Peach” and a reworked version of “Bros,” preceded Wolf Alice’s June 2015 debut album My Love Is Cool. Recorded in London’s Livingston Recording Studios with producer Mike Crossley, the album debuted at number two on the U.K. Albums Chart, was certified gold in the band’s homeland, and was nominated for the Mercury Prize as well as for Brit and Ivor Novello awards. In the U.S., it peaked at number 12 on the Billboard Alternative Albums chart and spawned a hit in “Moaning Lisa Smile,” which reached number nine on Billboard’s Alternative Songs chart and earned a nomination for Best Rock Performance at the 2016 Grammy Awards. Wolf Alice capped off these successes with a lengthy tour in support of My Love Is Cool that filmmaker Michael Winterbottom captured in October 2016′s semi-fictional film On the Road. That year, the album was also issued as a limited-edition box set that included rarities and demos as well as the Blush and Creature Songs EPs.
Also in 2016, Wolf Alice contributed the song “Ghoster” to the Ghostbusters soundtrack in 2016 and began work on their second album. Written in London and recorded in Los Angeles with producer Justin Meldal-Johnsen, September 2017′s Visions of a Life expanded on My Love Is Cool’s ambitions, adding psychedelia, dream pop, grunge, synth pop, and other styles to the band’s repertoire. Featuring the singles “Yuk Foo” and “Don’t Delete the Kisses,” the album was a commercial and critical success, debuting at number two on the U.K. Albums Chart and winning the 2018 Mercury Prize. Wolf Alice embarked on another extensive world tour, then took a brief hiatus to regroup before making their third album. The group took their time to hone their songs and spent extra months during the COVID-19 pandemic refining their music in a Belgian studio with producer Markus Dravs. Arriving in June 2021, Visions of a Life gave Wolf Alice’s sound a stadium-sized sweep. ~ Heather Phares & James Christopher Monger