Live Review: Alvvays On My Mind

I will Alvvays love you: Molly Rankin and co. light up KOKO (photo: MP)

Alvvays

KOKO, Camden (08/09/17)

It’s Friday night at Camden’s beloved KOKO venue, and mid-gig, Molly Rankin treats Alvvays’ audience to a short, not-so-sweet anecdote about her day. It involves the brand-new pair of shoes that she’s been schlepping around with her for the past two weeks of touring: some white pumps that she finally saw fit to break in once her band had arrived on London’s streets. “I stepped outside,” she sighs, “and immediately, a bird shat on them. So that’s my fucking luck today.” She then raises an arm, gesturing to the sweeping, sold-out venue with an air of conciliatory triumph. “But hey, this is great!”

That unfortunate encounter with a conniving avian aside, it’s been an exciting day for Rankin and her bandmates. Today sees the release of Antisocialites, the second record from the fizzy dream-poppers, and after a bustling day of press engagements and live sessions, they’ve capped proceedings with a particularly glitzy show in the capital. Pillowed by rosy lighting, and playing beneath a moon-sized mirrorball that regularly sets KOKO’s balconies twinkling with fragments of technicolour, Alvvays perform with tried-and-tested confidence. Their newest studio output has been road-tested for some time, and after six years in the game, the band interact with tight-knit intuition.

The four-piece welcome their new drummer Sheridan Riley, and Rankin confirms that Alvvays “really like playing in England. Your cities are really close together.” It’s a lot of fun to be present, and to hear the bulk of Antisocialites before I’ve had a proper chance to pore over the record’s various delights. ‘Lollipop (Ode to Jim)’ is particularly winsome, Rankin’s bubblegum chorus establishing itself as a long-term earworm even before the second verse has properly kicked in. The pop-psych swirls of Kerri MacLellan’s keyboards add a vintage gloss to the swelling ‘Forget About Life’, and on the evidence of its reception, surging single ‘Plimsoll Punks’ has quickly become a live favourite, the dual guitars of Rankin and Alec O’Hanley dovetailing spectacularly.

What’s most impressive is that the tunes from their self-titled first album have lodged so deeply in the ears and hearts of fans over the past three years. ‘Archie, Marry Me’ is an obvious go-to anthem for the group, and its skyscraping “hey hey” singalong is inevitably contributed to by all present. But it’s the reception of the album’s deeper cuts that reveals how adored Alvvays have become: the bouncy ‘Atop a Cake’ gets one of the evening’s biggest cheers, and the swooning guitars of ‘Next of Kin’ and ‘Party Police’ bring those clustered in front of the stage to a state of frenzy.

Alvvays aren’t a band to define the times or articulate issues of vital importance, but they consistently hitch their wagon of jangle-pop goodness to solid songwriting, trading in sticky melodies and vocals that betray more than mere by-the-numbers heartache. Bands that mine that classic wide-eyed, bedroom-bound aesthetic may seem ten-a-penny, but Alvvays have a particularly nagging appeal, making music that outlives its catchy hooks and surface sheen. Here’s hoping they’re here to stay, although Rankin may want to get herself some fresh kicks.

Setlist

Saved by a Waif // Adult Diversion // In Undertow // Plimsoll Punks // Lollipop (Ode to Jim) // Not My Baby // Hey // Atop a Cake // Forget About Life // Your Type // Next of Kin // Ones Who Love You // Archie, Marry Me // Dreams Tonite // Party Police // Dives // Trying to be Kind

11/09/17

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Posted on September 11, 2017, in The Music World and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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