June 6, 2017 — “In Undertow” by Alvvays


If you only listen to one song tonight, make it “In Undertow” by Alvvays (2017, from the forthcoming album Antisocialites).

Alvvays is a jangle/noise pop band from Toronto. You probably recall that I was obsessed with their 2014 eponymous debut album. So much that I named it my #5 album of the year.

The band formed in 2011 as five members who had been friends for life. Molly Rankin (vocals/guitar) and Kerri MacLellan (keys) were best friends and next door neighbours on Cape Breton Island while Alec O’Hanley (guitar), Brian Murphy (bass) and Phillip MacIsaac (drums) grew up on Prince Edward Island and were friends since diapers. The boys were also in a band called The Danks, but I don’t know anything about that band. The press photos that I’ve seen for the new album show everyone except MacIsaac, but I’m not reading anything into that.

Everything that I’ve read about the new record suggests that it’s going to be as good or better than the first. It’s been described as an album “replete with songs about drinking, drugging, and drowning”. It’s also described as “a multipolar period piece fueled by isolation and loss”. The album has a song about getting kicked out of the Louvre and wandering around Paris with vomit on boots. There’s a song called “Lollipop (Ode to Jim)”, which was inspired by Jim Reid out of The Jesus and Mary Chain. There’s a song that’s described as reminiscent of Cocteau Twins. In other words, this is a record that I’m going to love as much or more than Alvvays.

The new album comes out September 8 via Polyvinyl Records in the US and Royal Mountain Records in Canada. So far, the only song I’ve heard is the album-opening “In Undertow”. This is that song:

“In Undertow” by Alvvays

I love the ringing buzz of what I’m told is a Farfisa. I’m not clever enough to pick one keyboard synth from another without help, but that’s what I’ve read. It’s got the formula that we all loved about “Archie, Marry Me”: fantastic pop sensibilities mixed with a healthy amount of fuzz and feedback. Unlike the first record, though, this one has Rankin’s voice much clearer and front-of-mix.

The band will play Lollapalooza in August before heading over for a UK/EU tour in the late summer. For now, you can pre-order the album via Bandcamp here. There are also loads of bundles you can order via Polyvinyl here.

About dlee

North Carolina born and bred. I'm a restaurant guy who spends free time listening to music, watching hockey and playing Scrabble. I have a bachelor's degree in political science and I will most likely never put it to use. View all posts by dlee

One response to “June 6, 2017 — “In Undertow” by Alvvays

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