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Concert Review: Alvvays
by Cherin Kim

I can't think of any other band I'd travel 6 hours and back for with no hesitation.

Having missed the NYC show due to being abroad, I spent much of my time wallowing over the lost opportunity. Then the wallowing transfigured into anticipation once the idea to see Alvvays (pronounced "always") perform in Montréal sprung. Oh, how indescribably glad I am that my partner suggested this trip up North, so I could cry, sing, and dance to my all-time favorite songs.

Alvvays is an indie-rock/power pop band originating from Prince Edward Island, Canada, composed of lead singer and guitarist Molly Rankin, drummer Sheridan Riley, keyboardist Kerri MacLellan, guitarist Alec O'Hanley, and bassist Abbey Blackwell. They are currently voyaging through the Canada segment of their tour for Blue Rev, their third album released in October of 2022. After a 5-year hiatus, fans were over the moon to receive news of this album. Alvvays released it in pieces, teasing what would coalesce as the most transcendent album of our time. How lucky I felt to experience their new songs for the first time. Surely, it surpassed all expectations, reminding listeners of their distinct, dreamy use of the synth while masterfully introducing new elements into their sonic sound. Much of their tracks continue their captivating humming of guitar chords and vocal harmonies. The tracks are playful, breezy, bright, cathartic... to sway to, belt to, groove to, embrace to.

Alvvays started their MTELUS show with the vibrant "Pharmacist," a melancholic yet upbeat track expressing the aching feeling of running into your ex's sister at the pharmacy. Molly never fails to write heavy lyrics that carry hurt and longing, guised in melodic beats that feel like the sun's warmth on a good April day. I often forget the heaviness of the words I'm singing, so entranced by Molly's powerfully soft vocals and ethereal distortions. Her words, carefully layered within wistful, swimming notes, convey a sense of familiarity so specific yet universal; Molly is able to capture feelings and experiences on life, love, and heartache unlike any other.

"In Undertow" off their 2017 Antisocialites album and "After the Earthquake" from Blue Rev followed "Pharmacist." Then the rest is ineffable. I can try to weave together words that express the whirls of music and movement that night, but nothing will do it justice.

In totality, the show was simply beautiful. The band's vocals and instruments filled the venue with feelings of warmth and rhythm, fans bouncing to the effervescent "Pomeranian Spinster" and swaying with arms in the air to songs like "Archie, Marry Me" and "Ones Who Love You." Similarly dreamy scenes of cosmic waters projected behind them, with the MTELUS lighting team fluidly adjusting as the tracks heightened and transitioned from one to another.

Until next time, Alvvays!