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Album Review

Canadian quintet Alvvays (pronounced "Always") burst out of the gates with their self-titled 2014 debut, a brief but bright collection of nine songs of nearly perfect, sugar-coated indie pop. The band call on inspiration from the jangly C-86 movement and bands like the Wedding Present or Talulah Gosh, but also lean on the fuzzy, homespun spirit of early American independent bedroom pop and twee while steeping their tunes in a languid dreaminess borrowed from Teenage Fanclub at their most wistful. The album opens with the one-two punch of "Adult Diversion" and "Archie, Marry Me," two single-worthy songs of noisy guitars, gloriously deadpan vocal harmonies, and sticky melodies cemented in the listener's skull by the interplay between guitar and singer Molly Rankin's cascading vocals. The album is full of highlights, from the synthy melancholia of "Party Police" to the Orange Juice-esque interweaving guitar lines of "Atop a Cake." While Alvvays relies on the same reverb-heavy production that an entire generation of beach-obsessed indie pop bands has tended toward, they surpass many of their peers by delivering more inspired songs, often with unexpected shifts or breakthrough moments. This debut surpasses simply being "promising" by delivering pop as beautifully composed as that of contemporaries like Pains of Being Pure at Heart or Veronica Falls, while also tying in sentiments of punk gusto, twee wonderment, and dream pop thoughtfulness without relying strictly on the musical blueprints of any of those genres. Instead, Alvvays find a way to articulate their heart-struck, dream-like songs with deft intention and control.

Customer Reviews


been waiting for this album for ever!! one of Toronto's best bands, easily. can't wait to hear more music. this pre order made my day

i love finding out about new canadian bands

I can't decide who Alvvays sounds like, but I have definitely decided that I like them. So should you.

Refreshing like a good, cold Canadian beer...

Funny how one stumbles across some great Canadian music like this -- I happened to find out about Alvvays in the British music mag NME -- The Brits sure have a knack at discovering and promoting our great artists, whether it be Arcade Fire, Crystal Castles, Austra, The Beliefs, Sean Nicholas Savage, Mac Demarco, and many, many more.

Alvvays conjures up the greatness of the mid 80's jangle-guitar bands like the Smiths, the Wedding Present (yes that's right, as they started in 1985), with obvious hints of 1970's Blondie, as well as 1960's pop melodies. If you'd compare Alvvays to more recent artists, those that like Camera Obscura would find Alvvays the more grittier, poppier sister.

The whole album is full of catchy tunes, however my favourites would be 'Adult Diversion', 'Archie, Marry Me', 'Next Of Kin', 'Party Police', 'The Agency Group', and 'Atop A Cake'. Indeed a fabulous CD from start to finish.


Formed: 2011 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '10s

Toronto-based five-piece Alvvays combine their fuzzy, jangly, indie pop with infectious, sugary melodies that recall the likes of Scottish outfit Teenage Fanclub and nod to the U.K. post-punk act the Dolly Mixture. Lead vocalist Molly Rankin -- the daughter of John Morris Rankin from the popular Canadian folk family group the Rankin Family -- was joined by childhood next-door neighbor Kerri MacLellan on keyboards, and met guitarist Alec O'Hanley at a show as a teenager before they proceeded to write...
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Alvvays, Alvvays
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Customer Ratings