Review by Charlie Cottrell.
Always with an air of trepidation do we approach the new material of a band who appeared from nowhere with a really, really good first album. Alvvays’ self-titled first LP, released in 2014, contained a colourful collection of tingly guitar riffs and punchy percussion, all woven together by Molly Rankin’s authentic and distinctive vocals. Now, three years on, the band are on the brink of unveiling their Sophomore album, Antisocialites, with ‘Plimsoll Punks’ being the third single released prior to the full LP launch on September 8th.
The familiar introductory beach-pop guitar riff that kicks off ‘Plimsoll Punks’ indicates that Alvvays are not trying to transform into a new band. And as the song progresses from the opening verse into a melodious chorus, one wouldn’t be criticised for thinking that Rankin et al have nailed down a formula that they are unwilling to move away from. Yet there would be few to actually criticise this formula; the guitar riffs often appear to be moulded around Rankin’s charming vocals, which wind through colourful, obscure metaphors that somehow seem to make a lot of sense. It is certainly not difficult to picture a venue full of people singing along, as if the song were written just for them; such is the beauty of Alvvays’ dynamic appeal.
What this single indicates is that Alvvays’ second album may well draw some eerily similar parallels to their first LP. Guitarist Alec O’Hanley told Stereogum that the band are ‘pretty content with who we are, our life. I think on this record, we just tried to write good songs and document them accordingly’. Much like in 2014, Alvvays are not out to impress anyone, and despite the apparent lack of progression between the first album and their newest single, ‘Plimsoll Punks’ suggests that the band are doing themselves no harm in sticking to what they know.