Alvvays – Alvvays

What I Think of When I Think of This Artist (part 1)

It’s entirely appropriate that this and Allo Darlin’ sit side-by-side in my collection. I discovered both at roughly the same time; both traffic in bright, winning indie-pop; and both owe most of their appeal to their vocalist. Alvvays has a more conventional and tougher sound (relatively speaking – Motorhead this ain’t), and Molly Rankin has to fight a little to be heard. Her voice is magnificent and can propel any song straight to your limbic system, and the band writes excellent melodies that you want to sing along to until your throat is sore or your neighbors complain. I bought this album on the strength of “Archie, Marry Me,” and I don’t much care if this band never releases another song because I will always (do you see what I did there?) love them for that. But this is no flash in the pan – Alvvays is an excellent band.

What I Think of This Album

So, as far as I am concerned, this album is all about “Archie, Marry Me.” I don’t want to punish the band for creating such an unusual and perfect song, because the other songs are great, too. But “Archie” is like that one painting in the museum that you linger in front of and remember over all the other masterpieces in the collection.

On the whole, the sound is pretty and jangly – there are a lot of chiming arpeggios – with a gauzy overlay. It has a classic indie feel – it could have been made in 1987 or, I hope, 2187. “Archie, Marry Me” is a full-hearted declaration of no-frills devotion, cloaked in reverb, with an overdriven guitar lead keeping things grounded. “Adult Diversion” is almost as good, a tale of unrequited love bordering on stalking, but when Rankin asks “is it highly inappropriate?” as the music cuts out, you want to subtly but strongly shake your head “no.” The vocals swoon all over the place on “Ones Who Love You,” with beguiling “oooh ooh ooh”s everywhere and one unexpected “fucking.” “Next of Kin” has an almost-Smiths-y lyrical take on an accidental drowning. The band gets dreamy on the languid “Dives,” and adds layers of keyboards to the narcotized “Red Planet.” “Atop a Cake” has a sprightly snare anchoring guitars that threaten to spiral off into the skies.

This album was recorded at a Calgary studio called Yoko Eno – nice.

The Best Thing About This Album

Forget the floral arrangements and breadmakers:  “Archie, Marry Me” is seriously one of the best songs I’ve ever heard. Hey hey.

Release Date

July, 2014

The Cover Art

Not good. So I guess this picture is from National Geographic but that doesn’t mean I have to like it. At first, I thought it was some kind of mixed media collage.

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