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CD REVIEW

Alvvays: Antisocialites

by J. Poet on October 02, 2017


Alvvays revolves around the acerbic songwriting of singer-guitarist Molly Rankin. The daughter of the late Celtic fiddler John Morris Rankin, she started finding her own footing as a teenager, blending her folk roots with a more jangly, melodic brand of modern indie-pop. The Canadian quartet—which also features keyboardist Kerri MacLellan, guitarist Alec O’Hanley and bassist Brian Murphy—scored a No. 1 record on CMJ’s college radio “most added” chart with their self-titled debut in 2014. They’ve been working on Antisocialites for the last two and a half years, and the care they put into the music shows on every track. Alvvays have an expansive sound that echoes the pop gems of the late ‘60s, an impressive feat for an album that was mostly put together in the band’s basement studio. The opener, “In Undertow” plays like a Beach Boys track produced by Phil Spector with its massive wall of sound—O’Hanley’s gigantic chiming guitar and Rankin’s iridescent multi-tracked vocal bemoan the end of an unsatisfying relationship. Brittle guitar textures and cymbal splashes add a hissing dissonance to “Already Gone.” Rankin’s tragic vocal compares lost love to drowning, with odd synthesizer sounds giving the track an otherworldly ambience. Rankin rocks out on “Your Type,” and the entire band’s bursting punk energy adds urgency to the frustration she expresses about a guy too busy being self-destructive to pay attention to her. Grief and loss are the overarching themes to most of the songs, with the punched-up tempos balancing Rankin’s resigned vocals to suggest the anger that is often lurking behind the feelings of a broken, abandoned heart.


Authors: J. Poet
Artist: Alvvays
Album: Antisocialites
Label: Poly Vinyl