Wolf Alice prove riveting and (still) hard to pigeonhole at the Echo

Wolf Alice
Wolf Alice at the Echo (Photo by David Benjamin)

Wrapping up a three-week club tour through the U.S. in advance of their sophomore album, “Visions of a Life,” out Sept. 29, Wolf Alice played the sold-out Echo on Wednesday night.

In just under an hour, the British quartet played 14 tracks, including a handful from the forthcoming record, each with a distinct and diverse sound spanning the rock spectrum. They opened with “Don’t Delete The Kisses,” full of dreamy guitar haze as singer Ellie Rowsell alternated between talk-, sing- and shout-singing lyrics about love that found some fans singing along word for word despite the song being out for barely three weeks. “Yuk Foo” was an angry and blistering banger, while “Formidable Cool” had more of a rockabilly punk vibe to it.

The nearly eight-minute title track and album closer, “Visions of a Life,” was the highlight of the bunch, reminiscent of Radiohead’s “Paranoid Android” in its three-part structure, starting off as a scuzzy psychedelic number drenched in reverb before exploding into double-time speed that really launched the millennial mosh pit before winding down with a sludge-y outro.

The new material fit well with the eclectic feel of their debut, “My Love Is Cool,” another rock ā€™nā€™ roll hodgepodge, from which they drew set closers “Silk,” the thunderous “Fluffy” and the aggressive “Giant Peach,” then returned for their go-to encore of “Moaning Lisa Smile” that saw the whole front half of the floor swell into a choppy sea of limbs.

Z Berg opened the night, trading off between the axe and ivories with Laena Geronimo of the band Feels complimenting her sound with violin accompaniment. She played the beautiful “Charades” and the aching “Can’t Remember To Forget You,” full of vivid lyrics and a devastating melody, while interspersing self-deprecating banter, noting if it wasn’t sad enough that she’s also playing the Bootleg tonight.

Up next was Polyplastic, a four-piece with a dynamite rhythm section that anchored dueling guitars and lead singer Charlie Ellis’ baritone bravado. The highlight of the set was “Cherry Nails,” a hard-charging poppy post-punk ditty.

Photos by David Benjamin