Alvvays, Toronto indie favourites, first made waves in 2014 with their self-titled debut and its breakout single “Archie, Marry Me,” a brazenly tongue-in-cheek young love song. Their newest album, Antisocialites, lacks a hit as anthemic as “Archie,” yet Alvvays’ pop sensibilities remain razor-sharp throughout. Antisocialites thrives off of apparent contradictions; its saccharine pop hooks and dreamy guitars disguise tales of urban melancholy and romantic longing rife with self-deprecating wit.
Each song on the album walks a careful line between the joy and melancholy of urban young adulthood. Longtime live staple, “Your Type,” finally makes an appearance on this record, and is the album’s sweetest and most danceable pop tune. Its lyrics, joyously delivered, are hilariously gloomy: “I die on the inside […]I will never be your type,” belts frontwoman Molly Rankin. Conversely, “Not My Baby” finds Rankin feigning resilience post-breakup— her heartache betrayed by her downcast delivery and the track’s overpowering moody synths.
“If I saw you in the streets, would I have you in my dreams tonight?” asks album highlight “Dreams Tonight,” with a lyric that would fit right in any of the most wistful Smiths songs. The influence of generations of indie pioneers is evident on Antisocialites. There is a track dedicated to Jim Reid of the Jesus and Mary Chain, whose band’s hazy guitars and layered synths act as blueprints for many of Alvvays’ sonic textures.
Though these 10 tracks might be pop-y, this is not to diminish the brilliance of the songwriting. Rankin’s lyrics can be dreamy, silly, poetic, and tragic—usually all at once. There are tracks for dancing and there are tracks for moping, all blended together seamlessly across the album. Antisocialites is Alvvays’ most cohesive release yet, leaving none of the band’s signature ethereal soundscapes or impossibly catchy hooks behind.