Apart from the irritating spelling anomaly in their name Canada’s Alvvays have barely put a foot wrong since starting out in 2011. Their debut album was one of the best of 2014 and included future indie classic Archie, Marry Me. Their new album Antisocialites doesn’t deviate much from their previous jangle pop sound which combines nicely with Molly Rankin’s vocals.
Opening with some swirling synths ‘In Undertow’ has almost a hint of Tiffany to the melody before it disappears into the doom. What’s left for you and me? She asks, rhetorically knowing the end is nigh. The song finishes with a nice fuzzy guitar solo, heading into the undertow with a glitter of guitars and high notes. Dreams Tonite continues that shoegazey synth pop sound with hypnotically repeated lyrics.
Plimsoll Punks is the most obviously catchy thing here. You just know hipsters like this who think they are so twee and cute but still act like assholes. The vocals reach right to the edge of her range at the end of the song, like she’s really had enough. Your Type is a brilliant Primitives soundalike continuing the theme of jerk guys trying to gain her attention. Let’s hope she sang this one right after that idiot jumped on stage and tried to kiss her.
Not My Baby is a wave of dream pop, telling a story of distancing yourself from someone. Hey adds that perfect Smiths sounding guitar to the disinterested vocals. Lollipop (Ode to Jim) is about Jesus & Mary Chain vocalist Jim Reid, who the band have performed with. Alvvays’ Scottish influences are not hidden here – you can just hear Teenage Fanclub (in fact Norman Blake does back up vocals), Camera Obscura, Belle & Sebastian, The Pastels and et al in the mix which makes them pretty perfect in my book.
The best song on the album is saved until last, where the band break out a little from their attempt to recreate C86. Forget About Life starts with Rankin’s speeded up vocals as synthesisers slowly creep into the song, before coming together in a shimmering moment of brilliance. When I first heard this song I thought she was saying forget about ‘love’ which works with the themes of the record but either way it’s a glorious end and shows that they are more than just a hologram of their musical heroes.
Alvvays recreate a hazy past you can lose yourself in, so listen to Antisocialites and forget about life for a while.