Alvvays – Antisocialites (2017)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/44,1 kHz  | Time – 32:30 minutes | 374 MB | Genre: Alternative
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: Qobuz | Front Cover | © Transgressive

Alvvays (pronounced “Always”) is a Canadian indie pop band formed in Toronto, Ontario in 2011. Their debut album, “Alvvays”, was released in 2014, peaking at number one on the US college charts. Their second studio album, “Antisocialites”, was released in September 2017. Alvvays’ music has been described as jangle pop by the music press and its members. According to Rankin, the band’s emphasis is primarily on strong melodies, rather than for a specific genre: “If old people ask, I say it sounds like the Cranberries. If young people ask, I call it jangle pop. If a punk asks, I say it’s pop”. The band sounds similar to Best Coast and has often been compared to Camera Obscura. “Antisocialites” is set to carry the band to new heights, with Molly Rankin’s distinctive vocals and erudite lyrics taking center stage against a kaleidoscopic backdrop of pop, shoegaze, punk, and some brand new tricks befitting a band that sounds wise beyond its years.

After releasing a debut album of noisy pop that was perfectly formed and felt like the work of a band already at the summit of their career, it seemed like the only place Alvvays could have gone was down. Maybe sideways, at the very best. Instead, after taking their time both writing and recording the follow-up, they made a giant leap forward instead. Antisocialites has all the sticky hooks of the debut, all the boisterous noise, and the open-hearted honesty, too. What the band adds this time is confidence and skill, gained from the reception their debut got and also all the time they spent playing bigger and bigger shows. The sound of the album is bigger and the arrangements fuller and more spacious, giving the instruments room to breathe. It’s a bit of a change, but it works in their favor, especially since Molly Rankin’s vocals are a little more to the front of the mix and she sounds strong and fully in command of her voice, while retaining all the vulnerability she displayed before. The album is heavy with break-up songs and she captures the varying moods of a break-up with surgical precision. The pain seeps out of songs like “In Undertow” and “Not My Baby” like a fresh wound, while resigned anger flows through “Your Type” and a little bit of hope creeps into “Forget About Life.” The songs too, aim for and hit their targets dead on, whether its melancholy nostalgia on the lovely new wave ballad “Dreams Tonite,” the zippy dance-rock floor filler “Hey,” or the bouncing pop-punker “Lollipop (Ode to Jim).” The instantly catchy “Plimsoll Punks” is the equal, hook-wise, of “Archie, Marry Me,” and there’s not a weak link anywhere. The production (courtesy of John Congleton) is layered and clean, with reverb and noise used as a spice instead of a main course. Unlike the first album, where things tended to blend together into a whirring blur of noise, things are both more restrained and more exciting here. It’s down to dynamics and arrangements, both of which they pay close attention to at all times. The guitars aren’t just a Wall of Sound, there are great riffs, lines, and sounds that pop in and out of the mix. The backing vocal harmonies are more a part of the sound this time too, and Kerri MacLellan’s keyboards are even audible sometimes. Thanks to the care and feeding the band put into their sound, Antisocialites manages the rare feat of a band topping their brilliant debut with a sophomore effort that’s even more brilliant. Alvvays make it looks easy, and by the time the album is done spinning, it’s hard not to start thinking about how great their next record could be.

Tracklist:
01 – In Undertow
02 – Dreams Tonite
03 – Plimsoll Punks
04 – Your Type
05 – Not My Baby
06 – Hey
07 – Lollipop (Ode To Jim)
08 – Already Gone
09 – Saved By A Waif
10 – Forget About Life

Musicians:
Molly Rankin – vocals, guitars, fiddle
Kerri MacLellan – Farfisa, vocals
Alec O’Hanley – guitars, bass
Brian Murphy – bass, guitar
Chris Dadge – drums, percussion

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