By Paul Johnson
Alvvays’ “Antisocialites” released: 5 September 2017 on Polyvinyl Records
The Toronto indie rock band, Alvvays, just released their second album. Honestly, I was a little disappointed because their self titled first album from 2014 was soaked in reverb and laced with nonchalant deadpan vocals. Not to mention threads of shoegazer guitars and keyboards with a generally slow pulsing rhythm throughout. “Antisocialites” departs from their first album quite a bit, but I guess that is a good thing. I mean, bands tend to stagnate if they just keep writing the same kind of music over and over again. People change, and their music reflects that. It has taken a little time, but I am starting to like "Antisocialites" for what they chose to do differently with their second release. There is still a lot of reverb, but to different effect. The lead singer, Molly, sounds like she is a lot more confident, hitting higher notes in her vocal range more often. Her new confidence seems to translate into her lyrics also as she mostly sings about relationships that fail to meet her standards. The first album had a similar theme, but her disappointment on "Antisocialites" comes from a position of power. Overall, the band has turned more towards new wave (I keep thinking of Blondie when I listen to this record) influences to shape their songs. This means more upbeat (most of the songs are still pretty slow) tunes that even verge on sporting a punk aesthetic (yes, it is a thing: a fast to the point laconic critique) that also has elements of good old pop music. Yes, this band is a bunch of hipsters from one of the most hipster cities in the world, but they also don’t take themselves too seriously which is sort of redeeming.