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Review: Alvvays-Antisocialites

Alvvays second album, Antisocialites, was released on September. 8, 2017.

Polyvinyl Record Co.

Alvvays second album, Antisocialites, was released on September. 8, 2017.

Jose Cruz, Yearbook Copy Editor

Canadian outfit Alvvays emerged out of the moody shadows of jangle pop in 2014 with their self-titled debut, catching the attention of critics and indie enthusiasts clutching at a decade old craving for atmospheric music. Still, for an album with such charm and quirk in its yearn for diversion, Alvvays flew criminally low on the radar of mainstream indie pop. Now on their sophomore record Antisocialites, their tools sharpen, and any doubts in their musical abilities recede behind their crisp production.

At first glance, the group seems to carry on with the old, soaking their opening track “In Undertow” with a dreamy, reverb-heavy mix. Although this time, lead singer Molly Rankin and her crew incorporate an almost-shoegaze arrangement of guitar leads that hint at bigger, more refined ideas. Even though it presents a melody far from the album’s best, the track provides an excellent transition from the hazy production of their debut to the clean, pointed melodies of this new project.

Immediately following the group’s ode to the past, comes one of the best songs the record has to offer and perhaps the best personification of what the band’s vision aims for. “Dreams Tonite” capitalizes on some of the strongest points in the band’s arsenal: Rankin’s earnest vocals and the group’s ability to keep well-worn indie cliches interesting. The soft melodic progression and vocal harmonies make for a tune pleasant to the ear yet intricate enough to hold a listener’s attention.

Like the band’s previous work, Rankin’s lyrical wit and intimate method of storytelling carries their material farther than what you would expect from a Canadian pop posse obsessed with guitars and romanticism. The themes of the closing track “Forget About Life” may not bring anything original to the table, but the depressingly vivid scene painted by compounding beats and smooth vocal deliveries provide a sincerity worthy of praise.

Countless melodies float off the waves of Rankin’s voice, tailored to the catchy demands of the album’s hooks. “Saved by a Waif” delivers an irresistible chorus made possible by the strength of the lead vocals. At the tail-end of the tune, the inclusion of angular guitars bring an entertaining twist to such a familiar formula.

Originality matters.
Breaking boundaries and furthering the evolution of sound keeps things fresh and makes albums worth listening to, but sticking to proven methods and showing extreme attention to detail can prove just as valuable. Antisocialites provides a balance of these techniques far too uncommon to go unpraised.

Alvvays nailed it.    

Tracks to listen to: “Dreams Tonite”, “Hey”, “Not My Baby” and “Saved by a Waif”

Rating: 8.5/10

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About the Writer
Jose Cruz, The Arena Copy Editor, Staff Writer

Heyo, I'm Jose. I'm a staff writer for The Rider Online and I'm the Yearbook Copy Editor. I love to write and I love (good) music. I have a love/hate relationship...

1 Comment

One Response to “Review: Alvvays-Antisocialites”

  1. Beth on October 1st, 2017 9:41 pm

    100% agree!! This was such a good album and the top songs are A1

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