Showing posts with label alvvays. Show all posts
Showing posts with label alvvays. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

video review: 'antisocialites' by alvvays

Okay, from a technical standpoint, not one of my best reviews... but given my most popular video is arguably my worst-edited, I've got no clear metric how to judge this thing.

Anyway, next up is The National, and man, I'm excited for this one - stay tuned!

album review: 'antisocialities' by alvvays

I'm not sure anybody was expecting Alvvays' self-titled debut to blow up the way it did - including the band themselves.

Granted, there's context required here: it was critically well-received, some of this was inevitably skewed by them being a Canadian band and we tend to over-promote Canadian acts, and they had a crossover single in 'Marry Me, Archie'. But considering I wouldn't even describe that as one of the better songs from the record, it's still a little bit amazing to me that an act I picked on a whim from Pitchfork turned out to be one of the most textured and layered and yet ridiculously tight indie acts to break out of the 2010s. I'm not kidding about that, either: amazingly sharp melodic hooks, writing that was emotionally balanced and yet colourful and witty enough to back up its storytelling, and a wonderfully expressive frontwoman in Molly Rankin, it led to that debut making my year end list of the best records of 2014 - and if anything, it's only gotten better in my eyes.

That said, there was pause for concern surrounding their upcoming sophomore record Antisocialities, mostly as buzz was suggesting it was pivoting in more of a dream pop direction. Now there were hints of this on the debut, but I was never a fan of the band's choice of synths and if they chose to neglect some of the tighter, guitar-driven melodic grooves this could lead to a serious misstep. And the inclusion of John Congleton on production didn't exactly raise my spirits - he's a smart enough producer to get out of the way when necessary, but I wasn't sure how the shift from Chad VanGaalen would connect in capturing that atmosphere. That said, it's not like Temples suffered by a pop-leaning pivot on their second record three years after their first, so maybe Alvvays would stick the landing?

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

album review: 'alvvays' by alvvays

Well, this was a damn great surprise. I might have to do this sort of Pitchfork diving more often.

And you know, I think I'm going to stick on the side of Canadian indie rock for a bit longer and handle some old business I should have talked about months ago. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

album review: 'alvvays' by alvvays

For those of you who weren't watching my series a good year ago or those who perused my back catalog back before I had a decent camera or any presence in front of it, you might remember that I didn't exactly have a lot of material to cover in the middle of the summer. There's a reason for that: like early January, the mid-summer tends to be a dead zone for album releases under the assumption that the radio has already locked in their 'songs of the summer' and people will have already picked up the albums they want if they're going to the beach or cottage or the backyard barbeque. And in a year where the pop charts have been fairly stagnant in terms of turnover or are populated by singles from albums released last year, it leaves album critics like myself in a bit of a tight spot. It's gotten to the point where the albums battling out for the top spot this week are Jason Mraz and Weird Al Yankovic, neither of which are acts you would ever expect to get a #1 hit!

And since I already covered Weird Al and you couldn't pay me to cover Jason Mraz, I thought I might hop into my backlog of critically acclaimed records that I may have passed over - but the problem with that is I already covered most of those records too, and the ones I might have missed have discographies that require a bit more time to peel through before I feel confident in talking about them. So in sheer desperation, I went that wretched hive of scum and villainy - Pitchfork - and grabbed the first record that looked somewhat interesting, a debut album from a Canadian band called Alvvays. Based out of Toronto, they're an indie pop quintet that is advertised as pairing 'millennial social anxiety with breezy effortlessly cool surf rock'. In other words, the perfect act to drop an album in the middle of summer. So I picked up that self-titled debut album and gave it a listen: how was it?