Alvvays

(Royal Mountain Records)


Rating: NNNN


Alvvays play jingle-jangle fuzz pop that swims in reverb and lifts off with wistful melodies that stay with you long after the album ends. A lot of bands do this well. What sets the Toronto-based five-piece apart is band leader Molly Rankin’s weary tone and lyrics. This isn’t shiny, happy love-pop. Her melancholy adds weight, and it’s not of the fragile variety. She is full of attitude.

Rankin, daughter of sadly departed John Morris Rankin of the Rankins, and co-songwriter Alec O’Hanley (ex-Two Hours Traffic) are hook masters. Songs like Adult Diversion and Archie, Marry Me, both of which have been floating around for ages (this debut has taken forever to come out), are perfect pop gems. A few of the others – slower, softer Ones Who Love You, The Agency Group – don’t soar as high but add balance.

And there is admirable cohesion from start to finish. Recorded at Chad VanGaalen’s Yoko Eno studio in Calgary, it’s less experimental than VanGaalen’s usual output. The lo-fi/hi-fi production values keep slickness at bay, resulting in something as warm, intimate and super-casual as an East Coast kitchen party.

Top track: Archie, Marry Me

Alvvays play the Horseshoe August 14.

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