Alvvays, Antisocialites (2017)
I'm not one of those vinyl nerds who corners you at parties or at concerts and extols the "warmth" and sonic superiority of vinyl over CD's. I don't miss the scratches and pops and warping that inevitably befell vinyl; I unplugged my turntable more than a quarter century ago and gladly succumbed to the digital age (though I still prefer to own the CD rather than to simply download or stream; I'm a little old school that way).
One negative aspect of the digital age, however, is that it's too easy to skip around, pick out selected tracks, and lose the experience of sitting down and camping out for the entire length of a 40-minute album. It's rare these days for me to really devote my time to that kind of intensive listening experience.
One of the few albums of recent years where I hit play and sat through it start-to-finish (and then went back and played it again) was the second album from Canada's Alvvays. This is a stunningly solid piece of indie pop, guitar and keyboards with a dense wall of sound (odes to the Jesus & Mary Chain or the Raveonettes abound, though with a little less distortion and feedback) and ridiculously catchy choruses. Vocalist Molly Rankin is a captivating singer, shining equally on the upbeat rockers and the gentler tunes. It's impossible to pick a stand-out track here; lead-off track "In Undertow," chipper "Plimsoll Punks" and "Your Type," and particularly the wildly fun "Lollipop" are all fantastic, radio-friendly blasts of bubblegum, but the intermittent ballads ably hold their own and provide some needed breathing space.
This is my favorite album from the past few years, and may become yours as well.
Here's a video for "In Undertow":
And, while we're at it, here's a live performance of "Lollipop":
Buy it on Amazon.
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