Alvvays - Shepherd's Bush Empire, London
As an old, jaded music fan it’s a rare occurrence when I’m stopped in my tracks by a song over the airwaves. But it happened a few weeks back while listening to BBC 6 Music. I had to patiently wait for the tune that followed to end before the DJ stated who he’d played earlier and even then I wasn’t certain whether the track was ‘Always’ by Next Of Kin, or the other way around!
After digging frantically online I eventually realised that the song came from Toronto dream-pop combo Alvvays and did indeed have the title ‘Next Of Kin’. It wasn’t long before I had the band’s self titled debut album on my PC and was happy to find the majority of songs being equally as good as my radio-led discovery. The obvious group to compare the band to are Scottish songsmiths Camera Obscura, but a slightly heavier version, with more fuzz. There’s certainly a Scottish tinge to their music anyway.
Alvvays have recently been on the road in the UK with New Jersey act Real Estate, with their Shepherd’s Bush support slot the final date of their tour. It was my first opportunity to see the band live and I was really impressed by their performance, with vocalist Molly Rankin leading the band through a set pulled from their debut, including a pounding version of album opener ‘Adult Diversion’, ‘Next Of Kin’ and last song of the evening ‘Archie, Marry Me’, a track that went down a storm with the Bush crowd.
The band are back in the UK in January for an extensive tour, with a London show headlining the slightly smaller Scala. It’s a great opportunity to view them in a more intimate environment, as I imagine they’ll be headlining SBE or a venue of a similar size this time next year.