Today Wolf Alice have released the ‘Blue Lullaby EP’, a handful of stripped back versions of songs from 2021’s UK #1 and Mercury Prize nominated third album ‘Blue Weekend’. The track list, composed of five songs, presents an emotive almost gospel twist and the style of this EP elevates songs in new ways. Their latest album displayed a certain shift in outlook and now this more acoustic EP presents a layer of thoughtful maturity as the band are now one of the well-known names on the UK indie circuit.
Talking of the release, lead singer Ellie Rowsell said: “Blue Lullaby came about because we wanted to strip down some of our more emotional songs from Blue Weekend and see if they hit any differently. We also had a nice moment during the Blue Weekend campaign singing one of our songs with a choir and we wanted to experience that again with a few other songs, especially as there are a lot of harmonies and a lot of vocal layering on Blue Weekend. Hearing multiple voices singing together is an unparalleled feeling for me, so I’m happy we got to record this experience and I hope people enjoy it”.
Moving through some fantastic sequences of music, the EP begins with a velvety orchestral string swell with ‘Lipstick On The Glass’ in an almost gothic fashion. Shrouded in a certain mystique, it then plugs away at a progressive guitar riff accompanied by a lead vocal that has a subtle touch of reverb. This reverb nods to a vulnerability and depth in Ellie’s voice. Yet halfway through the backing vocals filter into great effect – showing off choir-like unity and propelling the lead singer’s voice simply skyward.
Next, a new dynamic is created with the folky fireside warmth of ‘How Can I Make It Ok?’. In more upbeat proceedings, the message of the song is almost juxtaposed by the acoustic glow and vocal purity. It’s even easier to forget the song’s lamenting about considering a companion’s feelings, when Rowsell flurries off demonstrating an impressive range.
‘No Hard Feelings’ reflects upon the breakdown of a relationship and the subject’s willingness to move on peacefully. There’s a poetic quality considering lyricism around “There’ll be no bad blood” and especially “Life can be short, but life can be sweet”. The latter lyric is almost a mantra for the song itself, as probably a personal favourite of mine, it seems this angelic ballad is perhaps a minute too short. This, with the near-gospel render, implies a new epiphany that previously touched upon maturity in the band. There is no need for grudges, as the lead would rather remember the good times in a dewy-eyed sequence yet move on with little baggage.
‘Feeling Myself’ is another soothing track and lets loose to the hinted orchestral swells heard earlier in the EP. Crooning of independence, considering the previous song the narrative continues. Moving on and feeling oneself alludes to a newfound self-worth and the euphoric use of strings adds an emotive grandiose feel – almost as if this song could be a life-affirming gateway to better thinking.
‘The Last Man On Earth’, which was actually the first single released off this EP, comes as a suitable conclusion to this release. Gentle piano bookends this saga with appeased yet powerful vocal range. Harmonies build and break through in bursts to project this new rendition to goosebump-level listening.
‘Blue Lullaby’ is an enjoyable listen that presents a wistful, poignant reworking of already celebrated songs. Subtleties in mixing and structured narrative within the track list, illustrate perfectly why these songs were hand-picked to go on this EP. It is also another reminder of Wolf Alice’s newfound stature in the indie sphere, after over ten years of creating music that always strikes a chord.