It’s an attractive prospect, and in a world where we lack Beach House and the SoCal crew, Alvvays snugly slot into a summer line-up. On the cusp of dropping their buzz-slathered debut, Alvvays, Molly Rankin – of the Juno Award winning Rankin dynasty – Alec O’Hanley. Brian Murphy, Kerri MacLellan and Phil MacIsaac are muscling their way to the title of ‘Summer Soundtrack’.

”Archie, Marry Me” has the words ‘festival anthem’ written all over it. It’s deliciously simple yet multi-faceted – Alvvays are deceptively bittersweet – and brandishes a chorus crammed with pop aplomb. The singalong vocal lines will reverberate through fields all August. The band’s other homerun-hit is “Adult Diversion”, which perhaps on the surface isn’t as hooktacular. There’s a zoned-out tranquillity in the indie river, but as soon as the brass hits – yes, brass – it’s abundantly evident that there’s plenty of party even in Alvvays’ most pensive moments.

We speak to vocalist Molly Rankin ahead of Alvvays unleashing their eponymous LP, where she discusses tour habits, the Toronto scene, and kicking kids out of pools. Stream the wonderful record for yourself below.

Hey guys. Could you briefly introduce yourself for us?

Alvvays = Alec O’Hanley, Molly Rankin, Brian Murphy, Kerri MacLellan, Phil MacIsaac

How did you get together to form Alvvays?

We got to a point where we could all comfortably leave our commitments on our respective islands. Brian had sold us on moving to Toronto so we all migrated and the scope of the songs outgrew a solo thing I was doing.

Did you always want to make music? What did you want to be when you were a kid?

We lived in very rural areas in the Maritimes without the good cable channels. Instruments ate up a lot of our free time as a form of self entertainment. I think we all had dreams early on of being academics. Sigh.

Do you have any hidden talents you care to divulge?

Though we may seem gaunt, we are all quite athletic. There is usually a basketball in the van to huck around in gas station parking lots. Kerri is an excellent frisbee player if she is holding a can of beer in one hand.

What are your favourite records?

We have a stockpile of exactly what you’d expect us to have as a jangly pop band, but in terms of current releases we all agree on: Jim Guthrie’s Takes Time, Cate Le Bon’s Cyrk, Parquet Courts’ Light Up Gold, Haim’s Days Are Gone. These are records that can withstand repeated rotations in trying times.

What inspires you to make music?

Working a day job, mostly. We are still working full time so we’ve got some steam to blow off. Also, hangovers create out of body experiences and a sense of detachment that’s helpful for lyrics.

How did you write and record “Adult Diversion”?

I was working at a smoothie hut for a while in Toronto. Only one or two people would come in during the day and usually only to use the washroom. That song spawned out of admiration from afar and spending a large chunk of time alone.

What’s the story behind it?

The premise of the song was having an unhealthy fixation on someone and following them around. The lyrics on paper don’t seem all that stable but shoved into a wistful pop song: much better!

How about “Archie, Marry Me”? How did that come about?

We are all in our 20s and watch a lot of people ‘grow up’ and get mortgages and have big dumb weddings and this song takes the piss out of that. In society it’s sort of looked at as ‘The Next Level’. The song is talking about the ‘in-the-cell-beside-you’ Bonnie and Clyde type of love.

I’m gonna go out on a limb and assume it’s a reference to Archie comics – apologies if that’s wrong – but regardless, do you have a favourite comic book or superhero?

Hah! It’s actually completely unrelated to the Archie comics. There is a song on the record called “Red Planet?” that is written about Chris Ware’s Acme Novelty Library #19 though!

Are these tracks representative of what the LP will be like? How’s it coming along?

The LP is sitting in our vault. Alec had to learn how to mix in order to finish the album. There is a lot of outright desperation on this record but it’s all pretty hooky.

Do you have any plans to celebrate the release?

Our friend Julie got us a nice bottle of champagne that’s been in her fridge for a while. We are all going to find a pool and scare all of the kids out of it. Not that different from any other weekend in July.

Do you feel like the record’s got a singular theme or is it more a collection of thoughts? Or neither Or both…?

Wintery lyrics; summery jangles. The pop song as a subversive cloak.

What’s the Toronto music scene like?

Diverse and friendly. Toronto is a fast city so one really has to hustle.

Is it a good place to be a new band? What are the advantages and disadvantages?

Things can catch fire quickly here, though that didn’t happen for us. It took us about 2 years to get shows and for people to come. This ended up being really good for us because people had low expectations. Geographically, it’s amazing to be able to bop to New York or Chicago in eight hours. That still isn’t great by European standards but compared to the drives we used to do from Prince Edward Island it’s a breeze.


What local acts would you recommend?

Teenager, Elsa, Moon King, Etiquette.

What should people expect from an Alvvays show? How should they leave feeling?

Loud guitars, white sneakers, echo-y love songs. Hopefully people are leaving in a non-violent altered state.

How do you pass time between shows when you’re on tour? If you could demand anything on a rider, what would you choose?

Kerri is great at hosting crude games in the van on our drives. Karaoke in the hotel room is a huge success. We also have Nintendo controllers that go into our laptop. For a gluttonous rider we would all likely want smoked salmon or something like that but we should all relax on salmon. Let’s go with a variety of chips – I mean crisps.

What’s the best city to play to? Where’s got the best crowds?

We aren’t big enough road warriors to say definitively, but our sets in Brighton were jammed and fun. Chicago and Philadelphia are a good time too. Toronto crowds have had a ‘chip-eaters’ reputation but we’ve had some rowdy shows, teenagers moshing in a library, that sort of thing. The folded arms phase is ending.

What have you got planned for the summer? Any festivals you can let us know about?

Plenty of trips! We’ll be at Visions in London, Seaport Music Festival and Brooklyn Bowl in NYC aaaaand NXNE, Hillside, Wolfe Island in Ontario.

Alvvays is out Monday (21 July) via Transgressive.