Track Review: Smile // Wolf Alice

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Ever since their 2013 debut EP Blush, London rock band Wolf Alice’s MO has been to combine festival-ready indie-rock hooks with soaring, technicolor dream-pop. 

The band’s new single ‘Smile’, the second track released from upcoming LP Blue Weekend, returns to this template after a brief detour into soft piano ballad territory with ‘The Last Man on Earth’.

This one-two punch of single releases is summed up in the opening couplet of ‘Smile’: “I ain’t afraid though my steps appear tentative / I scope it out then I throw myself into it”.

If its predecessor seemed a tentative (yet stunning) return after 2017’s Mercury-winning LP Visions of a Life, ‘Smile’ is the band throwing themselves back into the world—despite it looking a lot different than before. 

The headstrong self-confidence of frontwoman Ellie Rowsell’s lyrics is matched by the powerfully self-assured strut of rhythm section Theo Ellis and Joel Amey, and guitarist Joff Oddie’s fuzzed-out riffs are thrillingly forceful. Where their last single floated like a butterfly, this one is a “honey bee sting.”

The band’s balance of strength and vulnerability is proudly on display here, encapsulated eloquently in the lyrics: “I ain’t ashamed in the fact that I’m sensitive … I am what I am and I’m good at it.” Fans and newcomers alike will find it hard to disagree with this statement.

Words by Dan Knight


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