If you don’t listen to Alvvays, start listening to Alvvays | Exam


If I can convince you, music lover friend, to explore an as yet unknown group this year, whether Alvvays, the Canadian power-pop masterminds, who last month released what might be my favorite indie release of 2022: the buzzy, immediate, deeply fun LP “Blue Rev.”

Pronounced ‘Always’, the beaming quintet led by singer Molly Rankin is now three for three in releasing true instant indie-pop classics, from their eponymous beach debut in 2014, to the more adventurous and darker ‘Antisocialites’ in 2017, which earned the Toronto-based band a Juno Award (Canadian Grammys, essentially). Alvvays’ sound is steeped in heavy reverb, loud guitars and introspection, clearly picking up pages from British bands known for their inclusion on NME’s C86 cassette compilation (from 1986), such as Primal Scream or Wedding Here.

Canadian indie band Alvvays perform at the Bowery Ballroom in New York City on November 17, 2022. The band are seen here at the King’s Theater in Brooklyn a night earlier. (Will Oliver)

Although “Blue Rev”, named after a type of bubbly Canadian teenagers who sneaked around in the early 2000s, seems to be the group’s most inspired project to date, drawing on nostalgia and melancholy to weave a list of songs you’d be a fool to live without. The release of the record is a victory for the band, after a thief swept away a pile of their demos, a flood ruined equipment and Alvvays swapped two new members, adding a new Abbie Blackwell on bass and Sheridan Riley. to the battery.

After spending the past month supporting the new record at sold-out clubs and theaters across North America, Alvvays visited a Bowery Ballroom in New York on Thursday night, churning out 75 minutes of indie-pop and shoegaze-lite for a crowd of around 500 fans.


Canadian indie band Alvvays perform at the Bowery Ballroom in New York City on November 17, 2022. The band are seen here at the King’s Theater in Brooklyn a night earlier. (Will Oliver)

The purity and control of Rankin’s live vocal performance cannot be overstated – while there were still reverb blankets laid over his microphone, the crystal-clear nature of his live voice surpasses what is captured in the studio. Thursday’s set was a haunting showcase of his effortless lineup, from the big moans of the punky cuts “Hey” and “Pomeranian Spinster” to the quieter conviction of “Dreams Tonite” and “Archie, Marry Me” (the latter being the two more popular songs).

Rankin, 35, made it so easy, in fact, that I would have liked a little more animation, maybe less stoicism. Though the gloomy commitment to the craft seems to be Alvvays’ MO – the dance is for the fans, as they bounced off uptempo debutants “Pharmacist” and “After the Earthquake,” which kicked off the set at a clip. fast.

A projector cast a kaleidoscopic light show on the screen behind the band, swirling colors and pixelated imagery to match their playful new post-punk track “Very Online Guy,” poking fun at dudes begging for likes on social media .

Rankin spoke little to the crowd, though she gleefully recounted the group’s final days in the city, “walking longingly through Brooklyn, the wind blowing through our hair”. She also noted that just the other day she found out about White Claw, Blue Rev’s successor of sorts.

The set was dutiful and regularly hypnotic, oscillating easily between the catchy distortion of the new cut “Belinda Says” and the piercing minimalism of 2014’s “Party Police”, with Rankin choosing the melody on his platinum white Fender (almost matching his hair ).

The gig was an accurate glimpse into the band’s excellent past, best present and boundless future – if there’s one band set to release a follow-up album sooner rather than later, it’s Alvvays. .

Alvvays setlist

November 17, 2022 — Bowery Ballroom, New York


Bobby Olivier can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @BobbyOlivier and Facebook.


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