Alvvays – Antisocialites

On their sophomore album, Canadian group Alvvays turn visceral, trading the heavy focus on ready to break indie singles and instead crafting Antisocialites into becoming a well-rounded pop album.

Released, September 8th, 2017, Polyvinyl Recording Company.

With their self-titled debut, Alvvays paved two paths for their second LP: To either follow suit and focus on high-level singles, with better than average album fillers, or, to shift away from Alvvays and concentrate on Antisocialites becoming a truly recognisable pop album.

Of course, the singles taken from the LP before release, In Undertow and Dreams Tonite, may sound as familiar to an Alvvays single as Archie, Marry Me, yet the rest of Antisocialites doesn’t fall short to this. Antisocialites is one of a few albums, for me at least, that can be classified as having no boring tracks, no, ‘I’ll skip this one because the next track is better’ songs, that break apart a solid album. Some may find that Antisocialites isn’t what they were expecting or most likely hoping for, especially considering as there isn’t anything close to Archie, Marry Me in sound on Antisocialites, which arguably is its strongest success.

Too many times have second LP’s rushed to achieve the success of the first LP, whether across its entirety or from one or two key singles that sent the music world into meltdown, then only to produce something so forceful and unpleasant that it’s best to just forget about those albums forever. Thankfully, Alvvays avoid this throughout.

Unreleased tracks Your Type, Hey and Saved By A Waif, pack Antisocialites biggest punches, with wave after wave of indie, dream pop magic. Your Type immediately throws everything but the kitchen sink into its opening moments as Best Coast’s style of beach rock clashes together with Molly and co’s indie pop delight, as guitars remain constant and simple, yet big enough to inspire plentiful amounts of dancing and joyous single-alongs.

With its execution, Hey might be slower than Your Type, but packs much more of a punk-tinged edge, that falls effortlessly into the impossibly cool, indie songs playlist of your dreams. Black wayfarers and denim jackets, littered across a 50’s inspired backdrop in the 70’s easily defines Hey as a rambunctious fire starter that’s ready to kick Antisocialites up a gear for its remaining few tracks.

In between the moments of high, fast-paced indie/punk rock loitering throughout Antisocialites, similarly so are the more relaxed moments, drenched in synthesisers and shoegaze loaded guitars. Dreams Tonite is the beacon for synth magic and 90’s nostalgia throughout all of Antisocialites, with its reflective pondering on past potential romances that never surfaced, while Forget About Life is the dimly lit closer that the further in you wonder, the brighter its synths sound and the more passionate Molly becomes with her vocals, as its final hurrah reflects the joyous ending sequence of 90’s VHS Disney films.

When combining Antisocialites’ love of synth’s drenched nostalgic 90’s with invigorating expansions into lighter punk sounds, it’s near impossible to recognise Alvvays as the Canadian stars that serenaded listeners at first glance with songs about matrimony. The Canadian group have developed much more than expected from their debut release, as Antisocialites appears almost worlds apart from the success of their debut, now celebrating further success as the new and improved Alvvays.

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