Alvvays (actually pronounced ‘always’), are a 5 piece band fronted by singer Molly Rankin, formed back in 2011 in Toronto. Since then they have released two studio albums: their debut Alvvays, released in 2014, saw them compared musically to the likes of The Cranberries and catapulted them into a world of live shows and regular slots at festivals across the globe. Firmly becoming a favourite during the British summertime, mine included, when I stumbled upon them at End of the Road festival back in 2015, they have become increasingly known for their synth-pop sounds: 2017 saw the release of their second album Antisocialites, leading them into their next tour.

Tonight they headline at the Academy 2 in Manchester, a venue based within a university student union, which has a buzz of youth about the place, of young people being at their first or early gigs, eager and new to falling in love with music.

As Alvvays coolly take to the stage to screams and sudden surges towards the stage, eager fans keen to get within touching distance, they launch into ‘Hey’ from the latest release and it soars the audience high into party mode. Rankin comments, “what we love about Manchester is you’re not controlled by the days of the week, even on a Monday you’ll party”, and she’s not wrong. Swiftly she leads into the undeniably catchy ‘Adult Diversion’ from their debut album. However, we get treated to numerous songs from the current record, including the lead track of ‘In Undertow’ a poppy heartbreak track that is one of my favourites of their new material, and their most raw song ‘Forget about Life’, which is brimming with emotion and showcases the beauty of Rankin’s voice. The only thing I am unsure of as I watch this band tonight is whether the blending of each song into the next is a true strength or a risk of them being a bit ‘samey’. That aside, I can’t deny that I feel almost transported to a happy 1996, watching bands on Top of the Pops.

Unsurprisingly, my highlights come from tracks that feature on their debut album – the drowsy ‘Party Police’ with its melancholy synths, and probably their most successful piece to date, ‘Archie, Marry Me’, which still stands above the rest. For the crowd though the climax is reached as ‘Dreams Tonite’ is played, a glorious paradoxical gloomy pop tune.

With their encore including a further nod to the 90s via a cover of Elastica’s ‘Blue’, it seems the 90s are still here and I for one hope they remain, Alvvays.

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Sarah Starkey

I am a Freelance Writer who is a bit music obsessive. Previously written for the likes of Music Vita and Planet Ivy. Life highlights include winning £2.50 on the Euro-millions.