I have been really enjoying Wolf Alice’s album My Love is Cool. It has many familiar elements of shoegaze and grunge but it’s played in different and unexpected combinations. The album is moody and at times abrasive. But there are some lovely melodies underneath these songs. (They were originally a folkie band before going electric).
So this Tiny Desk Concert plays to their origins (all of five years ago). And they really change their songs for this set.
“Fluffy” on the original has noisy guitars and some great stop starts and big screams. They really, really slow it down for the set. They remove the abrasiveness, sing delicately (with the drummer providing backing vocals), and for the chorus of “sixteen, so sweet” they actually whisper it.
On record, “Turn to Dust” is pretty and soaring and very moody. This version is quite folky. I prefer the original but I really like this version especially the way you can really hear the interesting lyrics. Also, Ellie’s voice is quite lovely with no effects on it. They even hit Bob’s gong at the end.
The recorded version of “Bros” is upbeat and somewhat poppy. This acoustic version takes on a similarly upbeat feel but in a very different style. It feels like a real folk song and works surprisingly well in this context. I love the ending that they take onto it which make it even prettier.
I enjoyed this set a lot, even if it took me two listens to recognize two of the songs. But I didn’t really enjoy the band members all that much. I’m going to assume they were nervous rather than disaffected.
After the first song the bassist casually asks, “How’s everyone doin? Good?” and when everyone chuckles, he says, “That’s the end of that banter,” which is pretty funny (and makes Bob laugh out loud), but it proves to be true. And it takes Bob to break the silence (while the guitarist tunes). Bob tried to barter with the drummer for his shirt, which gets them to admire the strange things around the office. Also singer Ellie Roswell seems really strangely uncomfortable looking at he ceiling quite often, which seems very unlike the cocky persona she puts on in her videos. But the music is great, so that’s okay.
[READ: January 10, 2016] “Lip Service”
“Lip Service” is an excerpt from Hilbig’s book I which was translated from the German by Isabel Fargo Cole.
This was a strange story which is all about perception.
It starts “Most of W’s perceptions were acquired by looking from outside into the interior of lighted dwellings.”
He would watch people talking but he could barely hear them. And so he learned how to perceive what was going on and how unimportant the actual words that people said could be.
And he really enjoyed the non-gratification this afforded–the idea of being a voyeur who never completes his quest.
But the excerpt was quite short and it’s hard to see how it could tie into anything else. So, I found the whole thing as nebulous as W.’s ability–not really sure where he was going with all of this. That could, of course, be because it was an excerpt but it also seemed to be deliberately obfuscating.
Especially when the last lines of the excerpt repeat the (almost) opening lines that “you see best when you look from the dark in to the light! And not the other way around….” Very true, but we need more.