First Listen

First Listen: Alvvays, 'Alvvays'

Alvvays

32 min 53 sec
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  • "Alvvays"
  • Album: Alvvays
  • Artist: Alvvays
  • Label: Polyvinyl Records
  • Released: 2014
 
Alvvays' new album, Alvvays, comes out July 22. i i

hide captionAlvvays' new album, Alvvays, comes out July 22.

Courtesy of the artist
Alvvays' new album, Alvvays, comes out July 22.

Alvvays' new album, Alvvays, comes out July 22.

Courtesy of the artist

Music is at its most potent when it expands, dissolves, changes and challenges borders. Separations of genre, geography, politics — none are a force more powerful than people getting together to make music in a room. That borderlessness is sewn into the fabric of the self-titled debut album by Alvvays, a Toronto band whose beach-pop seems to come straight from the California shore.

The quintet's closest sonic cousins are the dyed-in-the-wool Californians in Best Coast. Bethany Cosentino makes her physical roots more obvious than her Canadian counterparts do — naming her songs, albums and band after her native land — but the sun Cosentino's Californians find "in our teeth and in our hair" clearly found its way north, and coruscates from every surface of Alvvays.

Alvvays' Molly Rankin sings in the same deadpan as Cosentino, but the two part ways when it comes to their subject matter. The lyrics throughout Alvvays are direct; they're mostly sung to people rather than about them, lending immediate access to every story. They're also awkward — which is to say they're about awkwardness in a way that songs, particularly beach songs, rarely are. Millennial social anxiety, it turns out, is a wildcard genius pairing with breezy, effortlessly cool surf-rock, and the combination is irresistible. "Adult Diversion," for example, obsesses over whether a social interaction "is a good time / or is it highly inappropriate." No time for lying around in the sun after catching waves today, man — there are too many future conversations to hash out in great detail ("Archie, Marry Me").

Over-analyzing, easygoing; reverb-infused, direct; nonchalant, plaintive: These aren't unprecedented musical pairings, but Alvvays wields them particularly well, tapping into a widely mined and instantly recognizable genre to create their juxtapositions. Here's to a summer of jangly garage-pop guitars, windows rolled down, and constantly wondering if you've just made a fool of yourself in front of your friends.

Alvvays, 'Alvvays'

Cover for Alvvays

Adult Diversion

  • Artist: Alvvays
  • Album: Alvvays
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  • "Adult Diversion"
  • Album: Alvvays
  • Artist: Alvvays
  • Label: Polyvinyl Records
  • Released: 2014
 

Archie, Marry Me

  • Artist: Alvvays
  • Album: Alvvays
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  • "Archie, Marry Me"
  • Album: Alvvays
  • Artist: Alvvays
  • Label: Polyvinyl Records
  • Released: 2014
 

Ones Who Love You

  • Artist: Alvvays
  • Album: Alvvays
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  • "Ones Who Love You"
  • Album: Alvvays
  • Artist: Alvvays
  • Label: Polyvinyl Records
  • Released: 2014
 

Next Of Kin

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  • Album: Alvvays
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  • "Next Of Kin"
  • Album: Alvvays
  • Artist: Alvvays
  • Label: Polyvinyl Records
  • Released: 2014
 

Party Police

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  • Artist: Alvvays
  • Label: Polyvinyl Records
  • Released: 2014
 

The Agency Group

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  • Album: Alvvays
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  • "The Agency Group"
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  • Artist: Alvvays
  • Label: Polyvinyl Records
  • Released: 2014
 

Dives

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  • "Dives"
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  • Artist: Alvvays
  • Label: Polyvinyl Records
  • Released: 2014
 

Atop A Cake

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  • "Atop A Cake"
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  • Artist: Alvvays
  • Label: Polyvinyl Records
  • Released: 2014
 

Red Planet

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  • Artist: Alvvays
  • Label: Polyvinyl Records
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Alvvays

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  • Album: Alvvays
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First Listen