Alvvays – Antisocialites

With their 2014 debut, Canadian band Alvvays took as legit a shot as any group in recent memory at sharing the great North American indie rock album. It’s a case of a young group soaking up a lot of jangle pop, indie-pop, punk, and other broad subgenres, then sharing it all with a fresh, young perspective. Impressively, the hype suited the songs, with Alvvays’ self-titled album measuring up well against some of this century’s better debut releases.

Such praise sets the bar quite high for sophomore effort Antisocialites. Singer, songwriter, and guitarist Molly Rankin applied a love of modern indie rock (her band has covered Deerhunter’s “Nosebleed” live) and equally vast knowledge of Irish folk music (she used to play fiddle with her kin folks in the Rankin Family) to another set of songs that master pop melodies and underground eccentricities.

“Plimsoul Punks,” for instance, pushes indie rock’s past sounds toward 2018 while taking aim at punker-than-thou types. It’s followed by the gorgeous “Your Type.” Remember when Vivian Girls got compared to the Shop Assistants often without really sounding like them? For a little over two minutes, Alvvays sound a hell of a lot like the Shop Assistants, which can’t possibly be a bad thing.

There are even electronic beats carrying “Not My Baby.” Nothing can kill a real rock song quicker, but the element suits the song here. Plus, it really accentuates how organist Kerri MacLellan puts the finishing touches on the band’s lush soundscapes.

In all, Antisocialites meets the lofty standards set by Alvvays’ debut. If you still swoon over the pop-friendly mix of musical influences and lyrical emotions that’ve kept the first album relevant, then its follow-up will be in your rotation for a while. Relevant is a lofty term at a time when the next new thing is supposedly here before the last new thing’s album tour ends, yet Alvvays truly has the goods to matter for albums on end.