Welcome to another review by my AlternativeFriday colleague Major
Tom, who this time offers this thoughts on the debut album by Alvvays…
There’s probably a fair bit the discerning music fan already knows about the Candian Indie quintet Alvvays. Firstly they are from Toronto – led and formed by lead singer Molly Rankin. Secondly it’s pronounced Always…or is it Alvvays? Hmmm, I’ll get back to you there. Third – and this is for certain – their recent single Marry Me Archie is simply one of the best things you will hear this year: a soaring, effortless, melodic triumph, that brings to mind label mates Camera Obscura at their very best. Think French Navy and Lloyd I’m ready to be Heartbroken… it’s that good.
On to their full length, self titled debut long player released just last month. Unsurprisingly (given the above Camera Obscura reference point) there is nothing groundbreaking on offer here, with the indie jangly/distorted guitar template very much at the albums core. Of course this is a genre which has become increasingly stale and so-so at best in recent times. Indie landfill / Indie by numbers if you like. I may have made that last one up…
Anyway I digress. Apply to Alvvays none of the above on this highly impressive release. Highlights? There are many, with not one weak link on offer. That said, Archie is still the stand out track, but not by that much. Adult Diversion and Next Of Kin are both ridiculously catchy and infectious tunes – Indie sing-a-long classics in the making. Elsewhere the Californian Surf, Best Coast style, is never far away and lends a beachy, yet melancholy feel to proceedings – especially on slower paced tracks such as Ones Who Love You and The Agency Group. Lyrically we are also in melancholic, even dark territory: unrequited love, partners with an adversion to matrimony, a lover drowned in the river in Next Of Kin. Rankin’s vocals are outstanding through out – deadpan yes, disengaged no. An exceptional and compelling performance, that lends a personal, vulnerable and yearning feel to each song.
In short then: Have we heard it all before? Almost certainly we have. Should we be more demanding? Probably. However… Alvvays positively breath life back into the jaded indie guitar world and enhance it with a collection of just great tunes and melodies, which are fresh enough to override any ho-hum heard-it-all before thoughts.
Ultimately this is just great pop music, which brings a smile to the face and more than a few tugs on the heart. Ultimately we’re all suckers for that, right?
Score (out of 5):