EP Review: Wolf Alice – Blue Lullaby

Less Is More!

Wolf Alice make waves with a confident re-working of favourites from the landmark album Blue Weekend. Fans are going to be enjoying this for a long, long time.

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In a celebration of the first anniversary of their third album Blue Weekend, indie faves Wolf Alice announced the release of the Blue Lullaby EP to much excitement from fans. The EP contains five songs which have been stripped back to ‘lullaby’ versions rather than the band’s usual atmospheric rock sound. What the quintet have done here is provide a new perspective to songs already loved by fans, with a sound that is haunting, confident and is an absolute treat to listen to.

An absolute standout from this re-release is the stripped-back rendition of Lipstick on the Glass, an atmospheric version of one of the already strongest songs from Blue Weekend. This version becomes even more haunting while maintaining a strong sense of power in its delivery. Frontwoman Ellie Rowsell’s longing vocals echo out from a backing of strings and hypnotic acoustic guitar, creating an immediate sense of dread and melancholy within the beautiful building of acoustic guitar and strings. This version couldn’t make it clearer that there is something wrong and conflicting in the Rowsell’s relationship, and this song forces you to stop and listen.

Feeling Myself follows this track in a similarly magical way, featuring a strong backbone of melodic finger-picked guitar and more string instruments than the rest of the reworkings. For a song about self-love, this track sounds the most brooding and soundtrack-like of the EP. In comparison to the rest, the opening track How Can I Make it Okay? seemed the weakest of the collection, as I felt that it didn’t differ enough from the original to motivate me to listen to this version rather than the former in future listens.

In my opinion, the best and most beautiful reworking on this EP is The Last Man on Earth, an already gorgeous song made even more so. This song grows stronger with every listen and inevitably, many Wolf Alice fans will be crying along to this at 2am for many years to come. Duetting Rowsell’s haunting vocals in this song is the London Contemporary Voices Choir, making an appearance in the song’s final minute with a contribution that is nothing short of beautiful. The contrast between Roswell’s softness and the choir’s higher register is defiant, emphasising the anger and hurt in the words “Will I hedge my bets on love? ‘Cause its lies after lies after lies”. Even in this stripped-back version, the song soars. In comparing the two versions, this lullaby strongly makes a case for less is more, as the emotion and quality of the track arguably make the original and some of its instrumental layering choices feel somewhat overproduced. Rowsell’s vocals in this version are softer and feel more vulnerable than the original and this works in this song’s favour immensely, creating a greater sense of depth and allowing the naturally emotional tone of the song to grow even richer.

The Blue Lullaby EP is a beautiful success. This EP triumphs by not only creating versions of songs that are more emotional than their originals but by allowing Rowsell to show off her voice as an instrument and let us hear just how strong that instrument is.

Blue Lullaby is out via Dirty Hit on June 24th. Check out their haunting new version of The Last Man on Earth below:


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