Alvvays hazy, sunny indie-pop travels from Toronto with ease, and on a Baltic February night in London, their sound is right at home.
'Hey' kicks off the show, and backed by a screen of twisting, turning psychedelic white noise, the five-piece set their stall out: Molly Rankin’s longing, charming voice, with its boyish lows and high school prom highs makes the listener feel as though they are already pals, and that this is in fact a much more intimate show than London’s Roundhouse.
'Adult Diversion' quickly follows and its tale of longing love could fit the soundtrack of all the best indie love stories of the 2000s. When Rankin stops between songs to chat to the crowd a shy, but oh-so cool indie girl is revealed. Think Juno, multiply by 10 and you get the idea…Bear in mind this is someone who retreated to abandoned classroom on one of the Toronto islands to write. Cool as fuck, right?
A large chunk of 'Antisocialites' ensues with 'In Undertow', 'Plimsoll Punks', 'Your Type', 'Saved By A Waif' and 'Forget About Life' among them. Launching into arguably their biggest hit, 'Archie, Marry Me', any cynicism of the institution of marriage is warmly washed away, replaced by an urge to head to Vegas and get hitched. Or at least something your parents would describe as ‘young and stupid’.
Shifting seamlessly between 'Antisocialites' and their eponymous debut, it’s clear that Alvvays are the epitome of understated, almost unintentional, cool.
The contemplative 'Dreams Tonite' and 'Party Police' bring the show to a close. Minutes later, the five-piece return to the stage, launch into 'Blue', before ending the night with 'Next Of Kin': A dark story about losing a loved one to a river. Its content is dark, but expressed through Rankin’s close, warming vocals it sits in a bracket of indie music Alvvays are beginning to make their own.
This is a night where comparisons to the likes of Kurt Vile, Pains of Being Pure at Heart and Beach House are ended; Alvvays are in a class of their own. Rankin and co. make playing the Roundhouse easy, almost as though they’re at home, in the lakeside sun of their hometown of Toronto.
Final words? Great. Really, really great.
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Words: Milo Wasserman
Photography: Holly Whitaker
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