In Advance of Upcoming Beachland Ballroom Show, Wolf Alice Singer Discusses Band's Sonically Diverse New Album

Wolf Alice. - Jordan Hemingway
Jordan Hemingway
Wolf Alice.
Ellie Rowsell, lead singer of British alternative rock band Wolf Alice, says that performing in front of audiences again has been invigorating.

“There is a real kind of air of jubilance at the shows at the moment because everyone, I think, is so grateful to have live music back — band, crew and audience alike,” says Rowsell via phone. Wolf Alice performs at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, March 30, at the Beachland Ballroom. “You kind of have a renewed sense of gratitude to be able to do it, after having had it taken away for so long.”

Wolf Alice is touring in support of its third full-length studio album, Blue Weekend, which was released last year.

Rowsell is excited to play fan-favorites like “Don’t Delete the Kisses,” which is nearing 50 million streams on Spotify, on the band’s upcoming U.S. tour. That track in particular is close to Rowsell’s heart because it’s one of the few true love songs she’s written.

“It’s weird writing love songs. I often feel like I only have one chance at writing it,” says Rowsell. “It’s a big deal to write a love song, you know, because you don’t want to write hundreds, just as you wouldn’t really want to tell every person you met that you were in love with them.”

The timing had to be right for Rowsell to open up. When the time came, she dove deep with “Don’t Delete the Kisses.”

“I’ve always been a bit like, you know, embarrassed about talking about love and things like that, and I guess that song kind of is about that — like not being afraid to kind of open your heart,” says Rowsell. “There’re only so many words, really. But I think I was ready at that point, for whatever reason.”

On Blue Weekend, Rowsell says the band wrote more freely than ever before. Seeing the songs come to life on the road has been incredibly rewarding.

“I think one that has surprised me has been our song ‘Delicious Things,’” says Rowsell. “It’s quite a long song, and it’s quite slow. I wasn’t very sure if the content of the lyrics and stuff were understandable to people. But that has been one of the ones which seems to have connected the most.”

The track time travels back to the few months that Wolf Alice spent in Los Angeles recording its second album. Rowsell wrote the demo of “Delicious Things” after a conversation with her brother during which he told her she used to be “way more funny” in her songwriting. Rowsell had never thought about her work like that before, but it pushed her to break out of her comfort zone and lean into a tone full of dark humor. In production, the band added in vintage-sounding guitars to transport listeners into a dreamy Hollywood haze.

“I wouldn’t call it a pop song,” says Rowsell. “And it’s not like a rock song in that way sometimes heavy and loud things connect just purely because they’re heavy and loud. And other songs, you know, if they’ve got pop sensibilities, they connect too, and this is neither of those, so it was really encouraging.”

The rest of the album came about when the band continued to release inhibitions to access its purest art form. The result is a sonically diverse album featuring everything from trippy dream pop and blaring modern indie rock to stripped-down acoustic and piano moments.

“I think I can hear a sense of feeling more confident and therefore more brave in this album, not necessarily to push the boundaries, but to almost not push the boundaries. I think sometimes, when you’re really like an alternative artist, you feel like you need to create something that’s never been created before. But actually, it’s kind of a lot more scary to be like, ‘I’m gonna write what I consider to be a very simple pop song.’ says Rowsell. “We really wrote this for ourselves, I think, basically not really caring about what other people may have wanted from us or whatever. And I think that paid off, and I think that is an evolution in the songwriting process for us.”

The four-piece has come a long way since Rowsell and guitarist Jeff Oddie formed Wolf Alice as an acoustic duo in 2010. Last year, the band headlined its first festival, Latitude Festival in Suffolk, England. Being asked to headline Latitude was a career highlight for Rowsell.

“I don’t think I felt ready, really, but it’s nice to know that other people have faith in you,” says Rowsell. “It really boosted my confidence.”

But the 29-year-old admittedly still has a lot to learn, so she can’t wait for all the firsts still to come.

“I think you only feel ready after the event that you’re not ready for,” says Rowsell. “You’re always learning, aren’t you? So, you don’t learn until you do it, whether you do it right or wrong.”
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