Alvvays returns with new, more exciting sound

Blue+Rev%2C+the+third+studio+album+from+Alvvays%2C+was+released+in+October+2022.

Cover Art courtesy Polyvinyl

Blue Rev, the third studio album from Alvvays, was released in October 2022.

Sam Tobiczyk, News Editor

Today’s release of Blue Rev, the third studio album by indie rock group Alvvays, marks an excellent return after a five-year hiatus, and a fine evolution of their style.

The band, known for its high-energy dream and jangle pop, have grown to include more elements of shoegaze. This new direction lends itself to a wonderfully intense and misty new style.

Lead single and opener “Pharmacist” starts soft and sentimental — for around 5 seconds. Then the song explodes into the listener’s ears, setting the tone for the record. The layers of reverb on the instrumentation and vocals give the song a retro feeling.

This new direction lends itself to a wonderfully intense and misty new style.”

The track is the first and most salient example of the slight style shift the band has undergone. The song still has the cotton-candy dream pop of the band’s previous two projects, but now they have added a shoegaze sound, coming across as a happier My Bloody Valentine.

The single “Easy On Your Own?” is a little less intense than the first track, but it has a slight melancholy tinge, which is common for the band. Toward the end of the song, lead singer Molly Rankin’s vocals match the intensity and rhythm of the background instrumentation, creating a striking sonic texture.

“After The Earthquake” has perhaps the best vocal performance on the LP. The track starts with a marvelous jangle pop sound, waiting for the vocal entrance of Rankin. The instrumentation stays in the background for a lot of the song, allowing Rankin to show her full vocal range.

The track also has the most electric soft-to-loud moment on the record. Two minutes in, the song almost comes to a finish. But then the drums and guitar speed up the tempo, like defibrillators starting a heart.

Very Online Guy” is easily the most idiosyncratic and sonically strange track on the album. The song is filled with vivid synths and, at times, haunting vocals from Rankin. At moments on the track, there are so many layers of sound that it creates a completely chaotic tone.

The song, even with its oddities, is effortlessly memorable.

“Pomeranian Spinster” might be the most energetic and punkish track of the LP. It wouldn’t be wholly out of place on a Dead Kennedys album. Coming toward the end of the 39-minute tracklist, it reinvigorates the listener for the last couple of tracks.

Since the band’s break, which started in 2017, fans of Alvvays have been expecting a batch of exquisite songs from Blue Rev, and the band did not disappoint.