Wolf Alice at Oran Mor, 23/3/15

The buzz surrounding North London four-piece Wolf Alice has slowly simmered since the release of their debut single in 2013.

Now with their debut album finally being released on June 22, Wolf Alice have become one of the most hyped up bands this year.


The excitement that surrounds this band is indisputable as the atmosphere at a sold out Oran Mor is intoxicating, it’s tantalising to see a crowd so engaged with a new band pre-debut record release, and the feeling that we were all about to see a band on the brink of success is apparent.

Kicking things off with their first single ‘Fluffy’ is a clever move, as it is a clear crowd pleaser and also allows their progress as a band to be mapped through their set.

The band roar in to the first half of their set demonstrating hypnotic soft rock, the long instrumentals are mesmerising and sprinkled with lead singer Ellie Rowsell’s punchy vocals, they show attention to detail with a sound that quickly draws you in.

With tracks such as ‘Storms’ and ‘Giant Peach’ it is evident that this is fundamentally a guitar band, they like them big and they are not afraid to use them.

There is no synthetic sound, even when it sounds like it, you see that they are just creatively manipulating their instruments to make it appear this way.

The comparison between Wolf Alice and Hole has been awash through music blogs and there is a definite influence in sound that can be recognised immediately, however, to compare them wholly to Hole, or simply to any other grunge/punk band with a female lead would be unfair to the band, as their sound is not just focused on feisty female vocals.

Their sound is a genuinely brave amalgamation of grunge, synth and pop; it allows for mellow moments as well as the hard hitting rock that their older tracks have demonstrated.

This creativity is demonstrated in the new tracks, which according to the band, and to the audience’s delight, is the first time they have ever performed them live.

Rowsell comments that they are using peculiar instruments in these tracks and jokes that they are not really instruments and in fact she believed them to be toys.

Their willingness to try the weird and the wonderful shows a youthful bunch that are literally slaves to the sound, whatever form this may take.

Finishing the set with popular tracks, ‘Bros’, ‘Blush’ and ‘Mona Lisa Smile’, entrances everybody in the room and swirls the set in to a virtuoso finish that is oozing with talent.

The band don’t bask in any sort of glory and keep their set curt; however, we all know the best sets are the ones that keep it short, and leave us wanting so much more, which Wolf Alice are certainly set to give.

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Words: Katharine Gemmell
Photos: Bill Gray


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