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The brilliant Alvvays stumble on Blue Rev's lacking cohesion

"Blue Rev"

Release date: 07 October 2022
Alvvays - Blue Rev cover
07 October 2022, 00:00 Written by Bella Fleming

The longest album from the band coming at 14 tracks, Alvvays have conquered thefts, floods and a global pandemic in their efforts to release Blue Rev.

A long-awaited return from the Canadian indie band, their last album Antisocialites came out over five years ago. Adopting a rockier shoegaze sound, Blue Rev is an album shrouded in clashing riffs, hazy melodies and encapsulating storytelling. Although Alvvays have always carried a more chaotic sound, Blue Rev seems the band’s most discordant album yet.

The humorous and naive storytelling from previous albums Alvvays and Antisocialites – think tracks “Marry Me Archie”, “Lollipop (Ode to Jim)” or even “Dreams Tonite” – feels drastically turned down on this new album. Instead, Blue Rev feels like a collection of quirky poems put to music, with a much more serious undertone.

Whilst many tracks shine as standalone, there’s a significant absence of flow heard throughout the album. “Pharmacist” provides an explosive start to this album that's packed with upbeat shoegaze tracks. Tracks like “Pressed”, “Many Mirrors” and “Pomeranian Spinster”, a particularly feisty track, all carry an irritatingly similar indie shoegaze sound. Later album track “Very Online Guy” details a darkly comedic online tale: “we all know everything that he says and does / leave your location on and just follow the buzz.” This heavy electro synthpop track provides a surprisingly fresh listen in between the band’s characteristic indie shoegaze sound heard throughout the rest of Blue Rev.

Another standout comes from “Tile By Tile”, a song about missed romances and exploring the ideas of the one that got away, with lead singer Molly Rankin singing “I'm out here swimming in the wrong direction / I shouldn't have ever been calling it love”. Whilst each album track sounds alright on its own, on an album with 14 songs, many of which sound very similar, some are inevitably forgettable and the palate cleansing tracks like “Very Online Guy”, “Tile By Tile”, or penultimate album track “Lottery Noises” are necessary to cut through some of the album clutter.

Blue Rev is an album that begs to be played live. Whilst as a whole the album still sounds very Alvvays, there’s a definite lack of cohesion and a punchy feel missing on the group’s third album. Blue Rev is a slightly disappointing return from such a brilliant indie band.

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