Text by Joe K./Live photos by Kimberly Cecchini
Dreampop is a sub-genre of music that I wouldn’t normally reach for; I don’t even think I heard of it before last year. But there I was, awaiting the Protomartyr concert at the South Street Seaport, when Toronto band Alvvays took the stage as the opener. Having never heard of them, I can’t say that I was super excited to listen, but what the hell, it was a free show.
The Alvvays set turned out to be the perfect soundtrack to a summer evening at the seaport and dammit, it wasn’t half bad. Even my boss over at Tonight At Dawn was bopping along to the surf-pop sugary goodness. I could feel the diabetes coming on and so when Alvvays released their debut on July 22nd, I decided to take another taste.
Fitting its summery feel, the 9 song album seems to breeze by with songs that would fit right into your parents’ 1960’s record collection. Tracks like “Adult Diversion” and “Next of Kin” really sound like the vintage grooves. On the other hand, when the guitar chords hit in “Atop a Cake,” I momentarily think I’m listening to Nena’s “99 Balloons” and it’s as light as the 1980’s classic to lift you off your feet.
Molly Rankin croons about all the things you’d expect on a pop album like love and relationships, yet her lyrics are somewhat more inspired than the usual bubblegum.
The reverb production is used throughout, providing a coherent vibe from track to track. Rankin’s extremely laid back delivery is nice enough, and furthers the dreamy quality of the album. However, as the dynamics do not really change throughout the album, the songs-for better or for worse-tend to blend into one another.
I have to admit, I’m not the biggest indiepop fan, but this is pretty damn good. It helps that the themes on display are tackled in a more unique way than 99% of other pop crap out there.
Or maybe I’m just getting soft in my years. I’m ready for another insulin shot now…
Alvvays from South Street Seaport, NYC