Toronto group ALVVAYS is the project of Molly Rankin, descending from the famous Canadian family folk group The Ranking Family. Besides her doing lead vocals and guitar, Kerri Maclellan (keys/vocals), Alec O’Hanley (guitar), Brian Murphy (bass) and Phil MacIsaac (drums) contribute to the unique sound of the band which strives for more than traditions and domestic fame. Coming from an age of boundless possibilities, ALVVAYS‘ dreamy indie-pop seems to come from another planet with a sunny spot in the middle of the universe. No wonder that their sound was received across the pond and beyond. Having already been chosen by NME as ‘a band everyone will be talking about after SXSW’, the band has also captured some attention on the mainland – for good reasons as we believe. Produced by indie-guru CHAD VANGAALEN and mixed by HOLY FUCK‘s Graham Walsh and John Agnello (SONIC YOUTH, DINOSAUR JR, KURT VILE), the full-length debut certainly lives up to its promises.
The main core of the album is marked by melancholic melodies, carried away by Ranking’s engaging voice and the band’s lovely arrangements and heavy guitar riffs. This latent contrast between romantic singing and unerring tunes adds the inimitable notion of dreaminess to the album’s sunny pop songs.
The opening track is already catchy as hell, liberating the long gone 60s sound of the easiness of being, which we all still carry in our hearts. Lovely beats and Molly Rankin’s charming voice incorporate endless youth into our bodies and minds. Lyric-wise however, the track is rather critical about social interaction, whether it ‘is a good time or is it highly inappropriate’ – conflicting as life itself. Versing ‘We spend our days locked in a room, content inside a bubble. And in the night time we go out and scour the streets for trouble’, the song Archie, Marry Me comes along as the sound of lovers à la ‘Bonnie and Clyde’, as it is symbolic of a juvenile carelessness and amorous invincibility. Yet again, it embodies a certain restlessness and uncertainty about the future. Ones Who Love You is another shimmering track full of faraway melodies and daydreams. Get all tangled up in a blurry Dives or twist and turn your thoughts to Party Police, for there’s also some haziness emerging from these tracks.
ALVVAYS manage to take you away into another life and to give you another identity, just by the marvelous sound of their music. It’s the combination of lyrics dealing with struggles typical of our age – drunkenness, death, and defeat – and light-hearted surf-rock that makes their sound dazzling.
Easy-going sound meets pensive lyrics – all consistent with itself: This is ALVVAYS!
NBHAP Rating: 4/5