TRACK: Alvvays – ‘Not My Baby’

Following on from their renowned self-titled debut album, Toronto-based Alvvays inspected the scene in 2017 and launched a new flagship against a storm of uneasy genres. The album Antisocialities masterfully spreads across a number of genres from indie-pop to garage-rock, conquering each one as the listener sails through each song.

Back when their namesake first album was released in 2014, the indie scene was astounded by a feature song which rhymed “matrimony” and “alimony” with the title ‘Archie, Marry Me’ captivating an audience and pronouncing Alvvays as creators of a proposal ballad. Whether you had begun to call them ‘Alvays’ or not is another matter, as the band have affirmed their name which is simply pronounced “Always” since 2014, through numerous festival slots – including Glastonbury and Coachella – as well as UK, European, American and Canadian tours. Lead singer Molly Rankin even joined The Jesus and Mary Chain on stage in 2016, propping up their noted status.

The band have an almost too-good- to-be- true, unique way of taking what would be softly spoken love songs and ejecting them as alternative, fun, witty indie pop tracks. Their tracks do something that not many have accomplished which is to appreciate and congratulate singledom with a grin and a dreamy tune. ‘Not My Baby’ is familiar to ‘Archie, Marry Me’ in that a story is painted in your mind, with the track as the theme song. A motorcycle engine whirs as the song opens and we picture the departure of one member of a relationship as they ride away, leaving a heartbroken lover behind.

But this heartbroken vision is opposed with the tongue-in- cheek opening sentence being: “Now that you’re not my baby, I’ll go do whatever I want”. It’s hard for jangly pop guitar and synth echoes to ever make a song sound sorrowful or stricken with grief, instead we envision the aspirational, happy- go-lucky life of someone facing their life head on and singularly.

The record gives refreshing two-fingers- up to stereotypes – which you could say is personified in Alvvays double ‘v’s in their name – and the lavish idea of “love conquers all”. In a time when the chains of tradition are being relinquished, it’s about time that an artist salutes our modern convention of happiness.

Hannah Tinker