ALVVAYS – ” Blue Rev “

Posted: October 16, 2022 in MUSIC

Like their heroes, Teenage Fanclub, Alvvays have always gone all in for the anthemic. But whereas the former sets a course for the stars with sweeping guitar chords and epic choruses that blast upwards on a more-or-less straight trajectory, Alvvays finds drama by drilling down into the core of their songs and breaking them apart at the cellular level—and never more so than on noisy, moody new record “Blue Rev”. Brimming with melodic twists, hairpin rhythmic turns, screeching key changes, and instrumental chaos that only feels uncontrolled because it is so precisely arranged, there’s so much happening within and around the fringes of “Blue Rev” that every moment teeters on the edge of destruction in the style of the amateur who doesn’t realize that it’s the kitchen sink that sinks the ship.

And yet this is masterful stuff for the simplest of reasons, which is that it hardly matters how far Alvvays want to explode their songs because the fact is that they have songs, good ones, and at the end of the day when you’re a guitar pop band, even one with stadium-sized ambitions and a taste for pastiche, the song is all that counts.

There are newly aggressive moments here—the gleeful and snarling guitar solo at the heart of opener “Pharmacist,” or the explosive cacophony near the middle of “Many Mirrors.” And there are some purely beautiful spans, too—the church- organ fantasia of “Fourth Figure,” or the blue-skies bridge of “Belinda Says.” But the power and magic of Blue Rev stems from Alvvays’ ability to bridge ostensible binaries, to fuse elements that seem antithetical in single songs—cynicism and empathy, anger and play, clatter and melody, the soft and the steely. The luminous poser kiss-off of “Velveteen,” the lovelorn confusion of “Tile by Tile,” the panicked but somehow reassuring rush of “After the Earthquake”.

The songs of “Blue Rev” thrive on immediacy and intricacy, so good on first listen that the subsequent spins where you hear all the details are an inevitability.

released October 7th, 2022

Molly Rankin : Vocals, Guitar, Production
Alec O’Hanley : Guitar, Keyboards, Bass, Production, Mixing, Engineering
Kerri MacLellan : Keyboards, Vocals
Sheridan Riley : Drums
Abbey Blackwell : Bass

Chris Dadge : Drums
Moshe Fisher-Rozenberg : Drums
Drew Jurecka – Cello, Viola
Joseph Shabason – Flute, Baritone Saxophone
Phil Hartunian – Guitar

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