Album Review Alvvays - Antisocialites

Alvvays - Antisocialites

Just as unique as that now-classic debut.

Rating:

Growing up on various island outposts sprinkled around the frilly edges of eastern Canada means that Alvvays are better versed than many on the finer workings of being alone. That said, they’re still in the process of perfecting the art of solitude, and ‘Antisocialites’ isn’t so much a handbook to introversion as it is a tricksy dissection of learning to peel away from a pair, and exist alone again.

A fast-swerving “fantasy breakup arc” that almost came true IRL, ‘Antisocialites’ begins, topsy-turvy, with its end goal of isolation. “There’s no turning back,” Molly Rankin insists before listing off a series of potential lone hobbies she could take up in this new chapter: “meditate, play solitaire, take up self-defence.” Despite her early resolve, the whole record brawls and twists with the idea of being alone, citing all manner of things - bad posture, a close resemblance to ‘70s Iggy Pop, and even incompatible blood types - as reasons to leave, yet never quite managing it. Incidentally the well-intentioned hobbies are quickly chucked out the window, too, in favour of being “blind drunk in an alleyway” (‘Hey’), embarking on LSD trips (‘Lollipop (Ode To Jim)’) and spewing up all over the floor after being chucked out of Paris’ Louvre gallery (‘Not Your Type’).

Alvvays mastered darkness on their self-titled debut three years ago, and likewise, on ‘Antisocialites’ deathly black humour hungrily circles sugary pop, like a blood-sniffing shark. ‘Dreams Tonite’ touches on vaguely similar ideas to ‘Adult Diversion’ to equally acerbic effect, while ‘In Undertow’ hazes in and out of focus in a barrage of infectious melodies, while the menacing riptide rages beneath. And all the while, porous, uncontainable water metaphors flow through the gaps; a product, perhaps of growing up on an island where it was loved and feared in equal measures.

This duality is central to everything that Alvvays does. With contrasting opposites being so vital, perhaps that’s why ‘Antisocialites’ winds up as a plural, even after battling internally at every turn. Just as unique as that now-classic debut, Alvvays have inadvertently gotten their wish all the same. They’ve wound up in a league of their own.

More like this

In The Studio with… Goat Girl

In The Studio with… Goat Girl

The South London quartet’s self-titled opener made for one of 2018’s most adventurous debuts. Heading into their imminent second, Goat Girl are older, wiser and sticking even further to their guns.

Naked Ambition: The Nude Party

Naked Ambition: The Nude Party

The Catskills sextet might deal in good, old-fashioned rock’n’roll, but amid the late nights and giddy highs we find a band prepared to knuckle down and put in the hours to keep the dream alive.

Talking ‘Bout My Generation: Will Butler

Talking ‘Bout My Generation: Will Butler

Not content with being one sixth of one of this century’s most innovative bands, Will Butler can now add ‘Harvard graduate’ and a second solo album full of curious, questioning brilliance to his CV.