Alvvays, “Alvvays”

alvvays-alvvays-album-art

Alvvays
Alvvays
POLYVINYL
6/10

There’s something about a melancholy message presented in the sweetest packaging that makes that sadness even more heartbreaking. But don’t worry, the upbeat surf-rock guitar riffs, playful bass lines, and angelic, yet wavering harmonies of Alvvays’s self-titled debut so effortlessly trick you into bopping your head along to tracks like “Archie, Marry Me” (“You expressed explicitly / Your contempt for matrimony”) and “Party Police” (“When every day’s a hurricane / You know that something’s wrong”). The Canadian quintet’s merging of depression with a surf-rock sound excels with “Next of Kin.” The idyllic scene of a young couple takes a grave turn: “If I had known he couldn’t swim / We would never have gone in.” Even after really listening to the gloomy lyrics about the loss of human life, you can’t help but sing along. This might be one of the only summery albums that features tracks about drowning, for obvious reasons, but you have to hand it to Alvvays, it works.

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