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Alvvays: Indie Pop Meets Mo Pop

If you find yourself at Mo Pop Fest, between trips to Food Truck Rally Alley, you’ll want to make sure you check out Alvvays, the Canadian quintet staking their claim in Indie Pop. The group is gearing up for an international fall touring run alongside The War on Drugs, Snail Mail and Hatchie that’ll feature celebrated tracks from their sophomore LP Antisocialites.  

The band is Toronto based but its members got their respective starts on a pair of small islands off the coast of Nova Scotia. For frontwoman Molly Rankin, a career spilling her heart on stage was more of an eventuality than a fluke, having been raised by the Rankin Family, an award-winning Canadian Celtic folk collective.

Alvvays rose to notoriety following their self-titled debut album that harkens back to 80s and 90s British Pop sensibilities while addressing early 2000s relationship faux pas. Their sound is distinct but isn’t without its influences. They candidly speak about their artistic muses, which range from Dolly Mixture and the Smiths, to Magnetic Fields.  They’ve managed to honor their predecessors but have carved out a unique place in the genre, which has resulted in an outpouring of praise from supporters, including Norman Blake of Teenage Fan Club, who provided backup vocals on their single, “In Undertow.”

Their unpolished pop ballads carry a lack of pretention; they’re special in that their music feels familiar whether you’re a longtime fan or a newcomer to the party. As Kerri MacLellan begins to strum her bass, it’s easy to get swept away in the warm, lighthearted melodies of a track like, “Adult Diversion,” before realizing that Rankin is crooning over unreturned admiration. This is one of life’s many sobering realities that are often times focal points of her writing. Her vocals dissolve effortlessly into the band’s backing while her lyrics carry a sense of understanding — enthralling concertgoers and cultivating a sense of community amongst strangers.

Alvvays has figured out how to blend their quirky brand of candor with everyday life melancholy, making them the perfect complement to a music festival that prides itself on its understated charm. With two projects under their collective belt, Alvvays are here to stay. If you’ve got the chance head out to Mo Pop, take the opportunity to hop on the bandwagon while there are still seats left.