by Allison Kridle
If you think about it, three years isn’t a very long time. In the moment it may seem like an eternity, but the time frame is short enough to feel like certain life events or memories morphed as a single entity or are forgotten as they get steam rolled by the present. However, nostalgia has it’s way of creeping up on you even if you feel yourself longing for a time that was just yesterday. The Toronto quintet Alvvays never ceases to drop a sweet ache for the old days--even though time hasn’t really stretched at all.
The indie band released their first self-titled LP in 2014 during my impressionable college years when Obama was still in the White House and my favorite movie was Whiplash. Similar to these two seemingly miniscule details, Alvvays left their mark. I crave for the past when I listen to their sugar-coated melodies and hear the blissful yearning in lead singer Molly Rankin’s voice. It’s hard to believe this still rings true today when I play their new LP Antisocialites, when not a lot has passed me by yet.
Right off the bat Alvvays proves their significance with the glitzy track “In Undertow.” Keyboardist Kerri MacLellan gives us a playful synthy keyboard to open the song, before getting blasted into catchy melodic fuzz. Rankin sings about the struggle to let go of something you are fighting every urge to leave behind, but can’t bring yourself to. Mistakes are made, relationships are questioned, but “there’s no turning back,” no matter how much you want to revisit or mend what’s already transpired.
Throughout most of the album, Alvvays stretches the imagination by mixing new wave elements with their familiar fuzz and jangly instrumentals. In “Dreams Tonite” they give off a space-like atmosphere as they touch on not letting the fire burn out in your life. They orchestrate a tinge of synths in the break up song “Not My Baby,” while keeping a ripe rhythm and a spacious melody.
The ringing peach-fuzzed tracks “Plimsoll Punks” and “Your Type” take the cake as far as jumpy and consistent beats go. You get the most bang for your buck in “Your Type” as Rankin sings in a convicted fast falsetto, “I die on the inside every time / You will never be all right / I will never be your type.” In “Plimsoll Punks” you’ll just want to nod your head in unison to the brisk drums as Rankin punchily says “you're getting me down.”
While Alvvays makes another salute to a distant memory in “Hey” when Rankin sings, “It feels like forever since you’ve held me like I was a human being,” the closing track “Forget About Life” reminds us to embrace the art of moving on and putting the past in the past especially when you can’t seem to go on. Although Alvvays makes it easy for those like me to dwell or escape to a past life, this time around I find myself looking onward. And thankfully, I have Antisocialites to jam out to as the world spins along.