Review Summary: Nothing extremely new or innovative, but still great and worth a listen
Alvvays, led by Molly Rankin, is a surf rock, shoegaze, and indie pop group from Toronto, Canada. In most cases for my taste, bands like this aren't very special or have any stand-out songs/albums, but this debut album from Alvvays proves that my taste has it's soft spots for music like this at times.
I'll start off talking about Rankin's voice on this record. Everything comes out clear, strong, and never seems to stray too far from the pitch it should be in, which is great for the genres and styles used on the record. Sometimes it has it's more melodic moments, like on the track "Next of Kin", and sometimes it shows her strength as a vocalist, like on "Archie, Marry Me". The instrumentals are all put into zones where the sounds balance out well behind Rankin's vocals, and most songs keep an upbeat and pop-y sound that keep your head bobbing through it all. The good mix of moments make it out to be a smooth listen, and you won't even realize the record has ended once it does.
But that is also my main issue with the record- this non-realization of the ending comes from the fact that plenty of the songs sound similar, and go through similar song structures as well. It reminds me of some of the early Best Coast, strong on reverb, kind of twangy guitar, and strong female melodies, but a lot of it just ends up sounding repetitive, despite the decent craftsmanship put into each track. As much as that's an issue, it doesn't bother me all too much like it might on other records, mainly because of the songs themselves. They're all solid, some I'd call pretty terrific (The Agency Group, Next of Kin, Adult Diversion), so I can't argue with the repetitiveness too much. The songs got under my skin, and once they were there, they just grew on me quickly and easily.
Overall, it's a great record, and definitely worth a listen if you're into dreamy female vocals and very beach-y vibes. It's a really easy listen, and when I first threw this under my radar, I listened to it a solid 6 times in what seemed like no time at all. I can for sure say that it's an album fit for the summertime, so give it a listen before the season is over!