Monday, January 26, 2015

Alvvays - Alvvays


Alvvays (pronounced Always) has been attracting a lot of attention since releasing this self-titled debut of shoegazer/dreamy pop songs last summer. The Toronto-based quintet was one of the headliners at Chicago’s recent Tomorrow Never Knows Festival, and will be back on March 27th as the opening act for The Decemberists at The Chicago Theatre. Lead singer-guitarist Molly Rankin’s ethereal vocals weave heartache within irresistible melodies and twangy guitars in much the same way Dee Dee Penny does with the Dum Dum Girls. There’s also a sparse, nocturnal feel to these arrangements that captures the excitement of new wave’s earliest days.

On the slow, engaging shoegazer track “Archie, Marry Me,” Rankin effectively channels the conflicted emotions of a woman who’s fallen for a guy saddled with a crippling fear of serious relationships. The woman in the catchy opening track “Adult Diversion” also feels neglected, wondering, “Is it a good time, or is it highly inappropriate?” That same sense of longing is set to a spooky keyboards and percussion backdrop on “Red Planet.” Alvvays takes another imaginative turn on “Dives,” by adding solemn, techno-oriented keyboards to a song that evokes a slow dance at a 1950s sock hop. Still, the best moments on this impressive first effort come when Rankin and her mates cut loose on the energetic “Next Of Kin” and “Atop A Cake.” 

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