By Adrian Woods, Contributor
[Polyvinyl / Transgressive; 2022]
Key tracks: “Easy On Your Own?”, “Many Mirrors”, “Lottery Noises”
Indie rock outfit Alvvays is back with their third studio album Blue Rev, and the band’s first studio album release since 2017’s Antisocialities. With the bands last record coming out five years ago, Alvvays has seemed to change things up a bit with a new power pop genre bending album, and one of the best albums of the year.
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With this album, the band is smearing many different genres into one, yet they are not incoherent or sloppy in their execution. The opening track “Pharmacist” and the track following it “Easy On Your Own?” give us shoegaze/dream-pop type songs that Molly Rankin’s vocals work perfectly with. Rankin is one of the very best frontwomen in the indie scene today, and this album confirms it. Her range is fantastic, and not many people in the indie scene have a voice like hers. “Very Online Guy” and “Tile By Tile” have instrumentals that feel a bit more on the electronic or vaporwave side, mixing in well with Rankin. The album ends on “Fourth Figure“, a track that uses an orchestral instrumental in a very sparing way. It’s a short track, but I feel that ending it in such a quaint way was a great touch to finish the album. When listening to this record, there are many clear influences here; the track “Many Mirrors” has a very 90’s Weezer sound to it, the vocals on “Very Online Guy” are very Strokes-like, and the instrumentals and guitars on “Lottery Noises” sounds like it could’ve been off of a Galaxie 500 record. I feel like this album sticks out more than others that have come out this year because very few indie and pop/power pop bands have released records that have combined genres and made it work as well as Alvvays has.
There are a few, albeit a FEW tracks on here that are not bad by any means, but just kind of sound alike. “Velveteen” and “Bored In Bristol” are not bad tracks, but there are so many tracks on the album that are so much better than them lyrically and instrumentally. Besides those, this album is packed to the brim with banger after banger of some of the best the band has to offer.
Overall, even after a near five year hiatus, Alvvays has not lost a step in the indie rock scene, so much so that they’ve skyrocketed as one of the most beloved indie rock groups of the modern indie rock scene today. It makes one wonder what direction the band will continue to go, will they stick to this power pop sound, or change their completely? Nevertheless, Alvvays have given us a new sound with this record. Hopefully, it will usher in a new age of well-made power pop, because this album is truly one of the best of the year.