words by will butler
Antisocialites, the second record from Canadian pop-troupe Alvvays, is sincere, cheery and a multi-coloured selection of indie-pop bangers. It’s rambunctious, cheesy and a record which, when taking a step back from it, reveals itself to be an amazing dissection of the notion of fantasy. Put bluntly, it has the sonic aesthetic of a Big Art Attack.
As lead singer Molly Rankin notes of the album, Antisocalities traces an arc of a fantasy relationship. In many’s personal canon, this could mean a meet-cute that blooms into a functional and healthy romance. However, fantasies aren’t just abstract dreams, they’re modifications on our realities. “Your Type” tells the story of an obnoxious dude that acts up to the crowd with his intellectual posturing. Rankin sings: “You kill the buzz every time with your degrees and conspiracy theories”. We all know this guy. We detest him. And yet, he exists in this fantasy.
The reason being, proven across the whole of Antisocialites, the best fantasies empower us to overcome the hurdles we know fell us in reality. “Plimsoll Punk” centres on the lyrical style that’s widely admired about Kimya Dawson. Under crunchy distortion, Rankin takes infantile imagery and uses it to reduce banal and achey adult situations into palatable and entertaining storytelling.
The biggest truth I can share of Antisocialities is that it’s entertaining as heck. Almost every track pivots on an inescapably catchy hook. Fundamentally, the record encapsulates the euphoria of escapism, of using sound to create inviting fantasies. Case and point: “Hey’ is a phenomenal, fist-pumping ode to the careening, technicolour indie bands of the ‘90s. You’ll hear as much Courtney Barnett in this track as you will Pavement. It’s irresistible and summons imagery of driving with the windows down on a cool summer evening.
And this image, admittedly corny, is quintessentially what the doubled-up harmonies, trebled guitars and dream-pop keyboard tones are referencing. However, Alvvays are a band that have proven, now twice, that anything done in earnest has value. A fantasy that closely resembles life is not a bad fantasy. In fact, it serves as a reminder that we’re often the only thing in the way of making our dreams truth. We just need the right inspiration. A bloody good pop record usually does the trick.
‘Antisocialites’ is released on September 8th, via Polyvinyl
Pre-order it here