Canadian quintet Alvvays recently appeared on the scene following a short period in which the hype built up drastically. Fronted by Molly Rankin, the group effortlessly mix elements of surf rock, psych-pop and indie to create a powerfully eclectic mix. They recently released their debut self-titled album to critical acclaim, with its 9 songs spreading themselves out over 32 beautiful minutes. Read on to see what we think of the album.
Opening with Adult Diversion, a raw guitar and drums combo makes way for jangly guitar melodies as the record opens on an upbeat note. Rankin’s vocals are perfectly suited to the music, as her sweet and serene voice compliments the dance-y drums, with the song’s memorable chorus being an early highlight. A synth-led breakdown makes way for sharp guitars and wailing vocals, before the track fully builds up and explodes back into a chaotic (yet melodic) outro. This makes way for the tweeting birds and slow, downbeat guitars of Archie, Marry Me. From the moment the instruments die (before Rankin resurrects them with her sweet voice) you can sense that this song is special. Archie, Marry Me is a heartbreaking love song with one of the most emotive choruses you’ll hear in a long time. A scuzzy guitar solo near the end makes way for a last hurrah as the chorus returns bigger than before, with Rankin spelling out the letters A-R-C-H-I-E to bring the song to an end. Ones Who Love You follows with more downbeat guitars and an electronic drumbeat, as echoing vocals help the song progress into a euphoric outro, as Rankin continues to spill her feelings.
Next of Kin brings the album back up to a faster pace with more jangly melodies accompanying Rankin’s clever and witty lyrics (something which is present throughout the record). The song doesn’t slow pace at all, with its catchy chorus keeping the song up to speed. The equally memorable chorus in Party Police further demonstrates Alvvays’ ability to produce tearjearker ballads alongside upbeat, indie pop gems. Rankin’s plea of “you don’t have to leave, you can just stay here with me” is sung with such emotion that the song sounds like another definite lighters-in-the-air anthem. A squeaky guitar outro makes way for The Agency Group (unlikely to be an ode to the famous management group), which opens with a bout of distortion, before Alvvays enter ballad territory once more. An extended guitar solo precedes the breakdown, as the chorus returns once more with terrifyingly real emotion. Dives brings the album into its last third, opening with waspy synth and electric drums, before Rankin’s vocals are accompanied by more jangly guitars in what is another ballad-esque track. Sweet harmonies make way for suitably laid-back verses, before Atop a Cake speeds the record up once more. The guitars, as always, are jangly and raw whilst the vocals possess poppy elements. Red Planet proceeds to bring the record to a close with buzzing synths being accompanied by tribal-esque drums and softly sung vocals. As the title may suggest, the song sounds suitably space-y, making for a sombre end to the album as fuzzy synths fade out in the distance.
Alvvays’ self-titled debut may lean heavily towards the balladry side of indie pop, but that’s by no means a sign of this being a dull album. On the contrary, Alvvays is an extremely important album in reviving the slowly-dying surf rock scene. Archie, Marry Me is the album’s standout track by a million miles, with its anthemic chorus completely ready for festivals around the world. With enough promotion and good publicity, we will hopefully be seeing (and hearing) a lot more from these 5 Canadians in the near future.