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Review: "Antisocialites" by Alvvays

by Lou Venditti- Copy Editor
Tue, Sep 12th 2017 08:00 pm
Photo taken from Alvvays's official Instagram
Photo taken from Alvvays's official Instagram

On their sophomore LP, Alvvays reaches new heights, with lofty vocals and rocking guitars. The jangle pop band recently teamed up with Polyvinyl Records, based out of Illinois, to present “Antisocialites”. 

Alvvays has grown up, with lead singer Molly Rankin reeling in her lyrical content from the last record. 

“Traded my rose-colored shades for a wide lens / Used to make noise, now I much prefer silence,” cries Rankin on “Not My Baby,” a fuzzed out break up ballad with a punch. 

Rankin’s wit shines in the third track on the album, “Plimsoll Punks.” Rankin is self aware, calling especially for the boys she knows best in plimsoll punks. A plimsoll is a type of shoe; think Vans or Converse. 

“And you’re getting me down, getting me down, getting me down,” Rankin wails into oblivion on the chorus over fuzzed out guitars. 

The album shows a significant sonic development for the band, ditching the lowest of the lo-fi for a crisper sound. The guitars still jangle, and the hooks still roll, but with a distinct clarity as opposed to other releases from the band. 

The record is almost reminiscent of anything second effort from fellow pop band Crying. In a seeming jump away from familiar territory, Alvvays’s attempt to conquer a new soundscape to delivery hoppy riffs and delightful synthesizers. The soundscape and instrumentals have taken a giant leap forward, as the band relies less on Rankin’s quick-footed lyrics, and more towards guitarist Alec O’Henley’s undeniable prowess. 

Lead single “In Undertow” may be the most impressive song on the new record. In its purest form, “In Undertow” is a heart wrenching breakup song, supported by O’Henley’s reverb drenched riffs, lightening the mood. 

“‘What’s left for you and me?’ I ask that rhetorically,” Rankin belts, before bouncing swiftly into the chorus on the back of an O’Henley groove. “There’s no turning back after what was said.” 

In a sense, the new Alvvays falls flat, blending in with more of what college radio stations have been inundated with for years. The dreamy guitars and catchy hooks are nothing new, albeit Hankin and O’Henley, along with keyboardist Kerri MacLellan, create soundscapes that will make you forget your responsibilities. Every song seems to blend together, which may be a good thing for some listeners, but the lack of distinct sonic differences makes the 10 track, 33 minute album fly by. 

All in all, Alvvays may have failed to recreate the magic from their first record, but have succeeded in creating a record that clears the bar for a baseline indie rock record. With their lo-fi jangle pop behind them, Alvvays have set the stage for their music to come.