Alvvays - Antisocialites (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick


Antisocialites (2017)


Canada's Alvvays shot to prominence with their 2014 self-titled record -- one of the best indie-dream-pop albums I've ever heard. Three years later, they're back with Polyvinyl doing the same, but this time around, Antisocialites is finely finessed to the point where it doesn't matter if you're a diehard fan or someone who's only just getting into them, you're in for quite an experience -- especially with vocalist Molly Rankin's siren-like voice leaving you fully entranced and teleported to the days of your youth.

The dream pop essence of the band immediately jumps out at you on "In Undertow" and "Dreams Tonite". The latter is such a guilty pleasure because while the lyrics are so cheesy, it's such a cute, innocent track reminding you of when they were writing ballads for that character from 2014 called Archie. They flow from slow to mid-tempo tracks so seamlessy and when it's time to amp it up, they also manage to do so in a style that reminds me of Beach House meets Cherry Glazerr. "Plimsoll Punks" and "Your Type" are great examples of this, reminding us they have some punk credibility as well.

From the tracks, you can see what the titles signify. It's a falling-in-love album, a break-up record and a getting-over-it diary. The saccharine melodies, whether set to dark or hopeful romantic lyrics, create a duality that works and which they've always refined to pop perfection. Songs like "Not My Baby" and "Lollipop (Ode to Jim)" are a couple more accessible gems that take you back to your high-school or university days of heartache. However, the record ends on a note that indicates we'll be getting more adult-oriented experiences to come. "Forget about Life" touches on the light and warmth of find true love and this is where Ranking comes off as someone who's on the cusp of iconic, greater things. 

I can see her taking her music festival fame and and surpassing that MTV glory that the likes of Paramore got. This band has a magic to it and Rankin is at the center of it. I'm very eager to see them cut loose from these last two records and rough it up in the years to come. Antisocialites feels like rebellion but it does end up conforming to the heart, which will become more weathered as Rankin moves along. The stories she tells then will be the true test of this band but I'm confident it will be another pop-soothing masterpiece.