Alvvays Showcases Their Biggest Strengths on The Dreamy 'Antisocialites'
    • TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 05, 2017

    • Posted by: Olivia Lewis


    This Friday, the Canadian indie pop band Alvvays is officially releasing their sophomore album, Antisocialites. Until then, though, you can stream the album in its entirety on NPR.

    On their second album, Alvvays' sound is as dreamy as ever, with lo-fi production, nostalgic guitar and synth riffs, and pop sensibilities defining the overall sound of the album. Lyrically, the Antisocialites centers on failing relationships, each song approaching different stages of the unravelling romance with a wide range of emotions and introspective questions. On the album's second single, "Dreams Tonite," lead singer Molly Rankin asks "If I saw you on the street, would I have you in my dreams tonight?" revealing the lyricist's doubt about whether this person really stands out to them, and whether it's worth saving the "wilting flower" of a relationship. In the song "Your Type," the singer is more certain about the relationship's end, with lyrics like "I die on the inside every time/You will never be alright/I will never be your type" and the clever line "Let me state delicately, you're an O and I'm AB."

    Antisocialites showcases one of Alvvays' biggest strengths: a penchant for unforgettable, timeless melodies. Songs like opening track "In Undertow," "Dreams Tonite," and "Saved By a Waif" especially invoke feelings of nostalgia in their poppy, deceptively optimistic tunes. On "Plimsoll Punks," Molly Rankin's dreamy, airy voice moves easily over the unexpected intervals in the verses that keep you listening on the edge of your seat. The melodic range of the verses in "Plimsoll Punks" contrasts the simplicity of the chorus, which relies on a rhythmically catchy delivery to cement itself in the listener's memory. The whole album is filled to the brim with earworms, filtered through the band's gauzy, whimsical sonic style.

    The two biggest stand-out tracks on Antisocialites are "Your Type" and "Lollipop (Ode to Jim)," which casually name-drops the Jesus and Mary Chain lead singer, Jim Reid. "Lollipop (Ode to Jim)" has an especially frenetic energy to it, driven partially by the mostly-monotonous, highly rhythmic delivery of the lyrics in the verses and partially by the delay effects used in the chorus. The strangely specific lyrics in this particular song are also pleasant; unique details like "I met your baby at the exposition/And frankly I found it a little unnerving" and "You look like Iggy Pop/Circa ‘73 or ‘4." Rather than coming across as alienating or not relatable, they give the song a sense of intimacy and authenticity.

    "Your Type" is similarly specific, and especially relatable. The upbeat energy of the song contrasts the pain expressed in the lyrics, with the chorus' opening line "I die on the inside every time." The lyricist seems to go back and forth between clever observation of fact and an inescapable feeling of heartbreak ("I die on the inside every time").

    Overall, Antisocialites is an incredibly catchy, deceptively sweet-sounding break-up album that wavers between showing an intimate view of pain and heartbreak, and holding the world at an arm's length with clever quips and poppy melodies that seem to insist everything is fine.

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