Music / Feature

Who are Mercury Prize winners Wolf Alice?

Get the know the band as they prepare to play three shows at the end of 2018.

Last night (Thursday 20 September 2018), Wolf Alice were declared the winners of the 2018 Mercury Prize, celebrating their atypical sophomore album Visions Of A Life. The band beat the likes of Arctic Monkeys, Florence + The Machine, Jorja Smith and Lily Allen to claim the prize, with judges declaring the album “an exuberant tapestry of swirling pop, grunge and indie guitar rock.”

It marks another milestone in a year that has seen the largely unclassifiable North Londoners dominate stages at some of Europe’s biggest festivals. The band, fronted by the ever-enigmatic Ellie Rowsell, already have a headline show at London’s impressive Alexandra Palace under their belts, and now they plan to round off this celebratory year with three comparably intimate headline performance.

Wolf AlicePhoto by John Marshall/JMEnternnational

Unlike some of the other Mercury Prize nominees (and a handful of past winners), Wolf Alice are already a household name in some circles. Visions Of A Life rose to No.2 on the official UK album charts upon release back in September 2017, and singles such as the provocatively titled Yuk Foo and the dreamy Don’t Delete The Kisses found a stable place on the airwaves.

Yet Visions Of A Life sits far from the mainstream sound, instead allowing Wolf Alice to rise to fame with their own distinctive style. Never fully committing to heavy or soft, the band’s often ethereal sound is as tranquil as it is powerful.

And the band wear this on their sleeve. Their sophomore album and Mercury Prize winner opens with the one-two of the suitably floaty Heavenward to the thunderous punk-infused Yuk Foo.

It’s a pattern the band aren’t set to break. Completed by guitarist Joff Oddie, bassist Theo Ellis and drummer Joel Amey, their live performances ebb and flow between these styles. Each band member switches up not just the sound but their very instrumentation.

Their performance is representative of their recorded sound, always ready to take fans off guard. Visions Of A Life, a deserving Mercury Prize winner, is unpredictable and often brash, and at its core a beautiful dreamlike piece of work.

New to Wolf Alice? Check out some of Visions Of A Life‘s best work below.


Yuk Foo

The lead single from the Mercury Prize winning record, Yuk Foo presents Wolf Alice at their most forceful. It blends together punk staples with the band’s distinctive sound, in no small part due to Ellie Roswell’s unmistakable vocals.


Don’t Delete The Kisses

At the polar opposite end of the album’s lead single, Don’t Delete The Kisses is hauntingly beautiful. The way that Roswell reservedly chants the chorus and semi-raps the verses oozes confidence.


Planet Hunter

Still leaning more towards their softer side, Planet Hunter is a beautifully modern ode to retrospective progressive and psychedelic sounds. It’s spacey sound is one to truly get lost in.


Beautifully Unconventional

Perhaps the most accurate song title of all, Beautifully Unconventional unfolds as another modern take on classic sounds, a concept mirrored in the video. The song carries a modern message of acceptance, and a mantra to fight the norm.


Heavenward

The opening track on Mercury Prize winner Visions Of A Life, Heavenward is a thing of sheer beauty. Alongside the following track Yuk Foo, they present both sides of Wolf Alice, all the while masters of their clearly defined art.


Having taken home the coveted Mercury Prize this week, Wolf Alice prepare to round off 2018 with a trio of headline shows.

Catch Wolf Alice on the following dates:

18 December 2018 – O2 Victoria Warehouse, Manchester
19 December 2018 – O2 Academy Brixton, London
20 December 2018 – O2 Academy Brixton, London

Tickets for Wolf Alice in Manchester and London are available now through Ticketmaster.co.uk.

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