In “Forget About Life,” the closing track on Antisocialites, Alvvays’ lead singer and guitarist Molly Rankin asks, “Did you want to forget about life with me tonight?” And after spending thirty minutes with her voice in your head, you’ll be ready to answer, “Yes, Molly. Sing me away into your world.”
Originally formed in Toronto in 2011, Canadian jangle pop band Alvvays is relatively new to the U.S. music scene. While Alvvays may not be well known around these parts, they got quite a taste of success three years ago. When their self-titled debut album hit U.S. college charts in 2014, Alvvays quickly climbed right to the top, hitting number one in August.
If you have heard anything about Alvvays, it probably has to do with their big hit, “Archie, Marry Me” (and though it has nothing to do with the CW show “Riverdale,” I’m betting it will make an appearance soon).
Three years between records may seem like a long time for such a break-out group, but the success of this second album is likely owing to Rankin’s determination to go off and hermit for a while in order to recharge her music-writing batteries.
Released on Sept. 8, 2017, Antisocialites still holds the same “surf’s up” charm their first album captured, with beachy electric guitar riffs and heavy drums, but this album holds a depth of sound and innovation that makes Alvvays pale in comparison. In a world demanding newer and better music at an ungodly rate, Rankin holds her own — a prophetess willing to enter isolation and bring back her revelations in full, but unwilling to compromise musical values.
Antisocialites is filled to the brim with echoing vocal effects, contrasts between luscious low vocals and ethereal high ones, classic 80s-inspired synth keyboard, sweet, sun-kissed guitar riffs and whimsical lyrics that are out of this world. The newfound strength of Rankin’s vocals, as compared to those on Alvvays, really allows her unique lyrics to dig their roots deeper into the soul of the listener.
The lyrics of the album read like poetry, filled with quirky, imagery-rich lines like “Meditate, play solitaire, take up self defense / When you get old and faded out will you want your friends?” (“In Undertow”) and “Your face was supposed to be hanging over me like a rosary / So morose for me; seeing ghosts of me; writing oaths to me” (“Dreams Tonite”).
One of my personal favorite lines on the whole album comes from “Not My Baby”: “Traded my rose-colored shades for a wide lens / Used to make noise, now I much prefer silence.” The word “silence” is followed by an all-band full stop, then the classic three hits on the drums — music and lyrics melding beautifully into one coherent line.
Standout tracks on the album include “In Undertow,” “Plimsoll Punks,” “Not My Baby,” “Lollipop (Ode to Jim)” and “Saved By A Waif.”
And if you’ve got half an hour to devote to a good cause, go for a walk around town with Rankin and Alvvays in this beautiful fall weather—they are very considerate company.