The lighting was scarce at Plan B Small Club, but once Alvvays lead singer Molly Rankin skipped up on stage, her peroxide blonde hair and contagious smirk alone lit up the room.
If you haven’t heard of Alvvays (pronounced always), they’re the textbook definition of indie pop with a dash of Canadian charisma for good measure. The bubbly five-piece released their self titled debut album in mid-2014, but the record only really gained traction in Australia during the latter half of 2015. Quite the contrary for our northern hemisphere friends. The Toronto natives haven’t had time for ice hockey as they’ve consistently bounced between the US and UK treating late teens and twentysomethings to their refreshing take on doomed love since the release.
Though the wait for Alvvays to get downunder may have been long, it was well worth it, and the Sydney squadron were the first to get a taste. Kicking off with ‘Atop a Cake’ separated the head boppers from the foot tappers, as the recognisable opening riff was met with a smooth addition of vocals and drums that brought an instant lively tempo. Whilst an upbeat vibe was established, it’s impossible to ignore the sombre messages in Rankin’s lyrics.
Such as solemn track ‘Ones Who Love You’ that deals with the theme of young love with lines like “lie to ones who like you, lay with the ones wont”. This delicate tone was backed up by a sway along rhythm section that has obviously gelled to the point of perfection. Alec O’Hanley on guitar and Kerri MacLellan on keys balanced out Rankin’s vocals while bassist Brian Murphy and drummer Phill Maclsaac resided at the back of stage oozing cool and keeping everyone in time.
Crowd favourite ‘Party Police’ brought on an applause that almost drained out the catchy intro, but the educated audience knew when to stop and listen. Lines like “You don’t have to leave, you could just stay here with me, we could find comfort in debauchery” obviously resonated with the frisky crowd. This was followed by hit single ‘Archie, Marry Me’ which is a sing-a-long like no other, yet involves a range only suited to one person in the room. Rankin effortlessly hit the highs that left the now energised crowd wanting more.
Much to the delight of Sydneysiders, the band returned covering ‘Alimony’ by local group The Hummingbirds.
If the Alvvays sound is yet to hit your ears, this Australian tour is sure to get the ball rolling down south, as it’s evidently snowballed throughout North America and Europe.