Title: Blue Weekend
Artist: Wolf Alice
Label: Dirty Hit
Genre: Indie Rock / Pop
Released: 04 June 2021
1. The Beach
2. Delicious Things
3. Lipstick On The Glass
5. Safe From Heartbreak
6. How Can I Make It Okay
7. Play The Greatest Hits
8. Feeling Myself
9. The Last Man On Earth
10. No Hard Feelings
11. The Beach II
"Pressed in my palm
Was a stone from the beach
The perfect circle
Gave a moment of peace"
I haven’t ever really listened to a Wolf Alice album from front to back before. It only dawned on me once “Blue Weekend” was announced back in February, and I realised I was excited, but couldn’t recall having listened to a single one of their records prior. I really like the band’s music, and I’m big fan of the songs that I have actually heard from them, but I’ve never taken the time to sit down and fully listen to their back-catalogue before. My exposure to their music has mostly been through shazaming tracks in TV shows or movies and thinking “Oh, its Wolf Alice, I like them”. And I’ve been pretty content with that attitude until “Blue Weekend” was announced. With the release of the album’s leading single, ‘The Last Man On Earth’, I found myself really anticipating the release of the record itself, but instead of filling in the blanks of my Wolf Alice ignorance before “Blue Weekend’s” release, I thought I would instead go into this one (relatively) blind. Even though I’d heard that their first two albums were meant to be quite good, I thought it would be nice to have their latest statement as my proper entry-point into the band’s discography. And now that “Blue Weekend” is out, it’s made me pretty excited to start diving into their previous two records.
This album covers a lot of ground. It’s a nice showcase of the different styles and moods that the band like to tackle, especially for people like me who are largely unfamiliar with their work. And while this can, at times, make it difficult to actually pinpoint what the band are going for, their chameleon-like approach to songwriting leads to some fantastic and memorable moments. From the pop-punk banger ‘Play the Greatest Hits’, to the beautiful, dreamy shoegaze finale, ‘The Beach II’, the band manage to create a charming palette of sounds throughout “Blue Weekend”. And it’s all achieved with some really gorgeous songwriting and performances. Ellie Rowsell’s vocals are absolutely spell-binding throughout this record, and accompanied with the often-dreamy instrumentals, it’s easy to be swept into a trance-like state throughout “Blue Weekend”. Especially with tracks such as ‘Lipstick on the Glass’, ‘Safe from Heartbreak’, and ‘No Hard Feelings’, which all feel so incredibly warm – a comfort that encapsulates much of the record, aside from some of the louder moments, such as on the aforementioned ‘All the Greatest Hits’.
But even in some of these more abrasive sections on “Blue Weekend”, Wolf Alice still manage to create music that feels intimate and passionate. Rowsell’s gorgeous vocals on ‘Smile’ juxtapose nicely against the more heavy instrumentals of the track, and it helps to counteract the slight identity crisis that the album’s constant style shifts cause. And while I’m a little less enamoured by their attempts at some heavier rock styles, this is all obviously due to personal preference of the band. My favourite stuff that I’ve heard from Wolf Alice in the past has all been warm, pretty music, so it makes sense that these are the moments that captivate me most on “Blue Weekend”. However, the band do a great job of every style they go for here, and even though Rowsell’s vocals appeal to me more in tracks such as ‘Feeling Myself’, over ‘Smile’, she and the rest of the group are still delivering some great performances, nevertheless.
In fact, out of the entire track list of “Blue Weekend”, there’s only one song that feels particularly unmemorable to me. After the fantastic build-up of an opening track with ‘The Beach’, ‘Delicious Things’ ends up falling pretty flat in the grand scheme of the album. It’s not a bad track, but its progression, lyrics, and the performances from each of the band members just feels incredibly timid and milquetoast. And although this is partially reflective of the lyrics themself, which discuss the naïve wonderment of moving to LA as a young adult, it doesn’t make the track any more enjoyable. It’s pretty underwhelming after the great intro song, but thankfully the album is immediately salvaged by ‘Lipstick on the Glass’. This track is fantastic, with a soaring chorus and lyrics that reflect the cyclical nature of betrayal and forgiveness in a relationship. This is a recurring theme throughout “Blue Weekend”, with many of the songs feeling as though they follow the progression of a failing relationship, and the subsequent aftermath of a breakup. Where ‘Lipstick on the Glass’ introduces the narrative, with the narrator taking their ex back, ‘Safe from Heartbreak’ shows the repercussions of this; the inevitable betrayal that hid just around the corner. ‘How Can I Make It Okay’ then follows the narrator as they turn to blame themself, looking back on their relationship with rose-tinted glasses and failing to remember the reasons behind their decision to end it. And slowly, but surely, the rest of the album depicts the difficult process of healing, and moving on. It’s fairly loose conceptually, but there’s a nice continuity throughout the record that adds a lot to its lyrical content.
On top of this, a lot of the actual music on “Blue Weekend” follows a formula that works really well for the band’s sound, playing to each of their strengths perfectly. And in the process, it often results in an excellent pop/rock song. This is where a lot of the enjoyment on “Blue Weekend” comes from; it’s just a really great selection of well-put-together indie rock tracks. It covers a variety of facets within the genre, sometimes extending beyond it, and it executes all of these extremely well. If you’re a fan of alternative rock music, there’s a good chance that you’re really going to love this album, or most likely already do.
“Blue Weekend” is a really solid record, with a great deal of fantastic tracks, albeit with a few less memorable moments scattered throughout. And while the weaker patches throughout the runtime of the album stilt its momentum slightly, they appear few and far between. I’m both slightly ashamed for never having properly listened to a Wolf Alice album before, but also excited to finally experience them for the first time. Although it’s taken me far too long to get into their music, “Blue Weekend” was a fantastic entry point into their discography, and I look forward to seeing how it holds up against “Visions of Life” and “My Love is Cool”. If you’re a fan of indie rock, pop, or just a solid breakup album, don’t miss out on this one.
"I take you back
Yeah, I know it seems surprising when there's lipstick still on the glass
And the full moon rising, but it's me who makes myself mad,
I'll take you"
Reviewed by Layton Bryce - 02/07/2021
23/7/21, 9:43 am
such a wonderful, passionate review 🤍
15/7/21, 8:01 am
so proud of u, such a great and succinct review xo
15/7/21, 7:57 am
9/7/21, 11:54 am
what an incredible review!! one of my favourites of the year 🥰💓
5/7/21, 2:29 am
another wonderful review!!! x
3/7/21, 7:03 am
another great review from my favourite music reviewer🤍🤍🤍
3/7/21, 6:48 am
YEEESSSS I can’t wait to hear your thoughts on My Love Is Cool, one of my faves album EVER
3/7/21, 6:46 am
One day I'm gonna have to listen to all these albums because of all these great reviews! Can't wait for a Hamilton or Frozen review...??? 👀👀👀 Maybe a cheeky Bo Burnham review????
1/7/21, 6:42 am
YES!!! COMMENTS AND BACK!!!! HOW DID THIS SMART MAN DO IT???!!!
1/7/21, 6:40 am
yay!! comments are back!! love this review, and you!🤍