Alvvays @ Trinity Centre, Bristol, 16/02/2018

AlvvaysBursting onto the scene in 2014, Alvvays' self-titled debut received critical acclaim across the board, striking the right balance between indie and pop. After touring the album for two years, bagging themselves slots at Glastonbury and Coachella along the way, lead vocalist Molly Ranking even appeared live on stage with The Jesus and Mary Chain; talk about an accolade.

The follow-up, Antisocialites, was released last year with less of the light fluffiness of Alvvays, swapped out for even more jangle and synth. Bristol’s Trinity Centre is the perfect venue for such a tour, with their renowned sound system hitting the synth spot. The lack of projector screen - Molly explains it, unfortunately, didn’t arrive - results in a moth-eaten sheet behind them instead, revealing the amazing angel artwork of the Trinity Centre church. Probably more shabby than chic, it feels slightly less clean cut than I imagine their projector screen would have provided, but it certainly fits the quota.

“Hey” is an upbeat opener to their set, glimpsing into the quirky fun of their catalogue: jangly pop meets indie, with bubblegum textures to boot. There’s something comforting about their output, with melody after melody both soothing and uplifting. “Plimsoll Punks” continues the wave with consoling gusto and an easy-loving temperament. It’s hard not to sway along with content.

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What’s most outstanding is Molly Rankin’s sweet vocal. She hits the higher notes of “Plimsoll Punks” with absolute effortlessness. Even more angelic live, her vocal brings the performance to heavenly heights. Molly’s white jumper, white hair and white spotlight most likely exaggerate the angelical feeling; but still, there’s an air of delicacy in her virtuous vocal and stage presence.

From “Not My Baby” to “Atop a Cake”, every track feels like it could be an A-side single. None of their tracks are album fillers, or merely songs to fill a setlist. Each is crafted and delivered with impeccable detail and deliberation, as well as packing ever-so-singable choruses and dreamy soundscapes. “Archie, Marry Me” is a perfect example, and a favourite with the crowd, with the sing-a-long chorus, belted out by all.

Ending with pop pairing “Dreams Tonite” and “Party Police”, Alvvays sure know how to perform live. Their charm lies in the bubbly fun and light-natured melodies they’ve developed, with just the right amount of distance from the likes of Beach House and Camera Obscura to stamp a sound for themselves. I’m predicting that the upward trajectory continues from here. Watch this space.

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