Alvvays, Scala London, gig review: Indie-pop with a melancholy edge

Toronto quintet offer relatable, bittersweet pop tunes with alluring melodies

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The Independent Culture

Molly Rankin leads the Toronto quintet through their reverb-heavy indie-pop. She sings with a deadpan voice and tempts us into a bittersweet world with melancholic lyrics about life’s uniformity. Last autumn the band played a slew of UK shows supporting the New Jersey group Real Estate, but now Alvvays are the headline act. A flare of bagpipes announces it’s a sold-out gig.

Opening with “Your Type”, the band play songs from their 2014 debut Alvvays with urgent efficiency. “Adult Diversion” is saturated with a bright synthline played over a jagged Pixies guitar melody while “Atop a Cake” presents the bittersweet twee of Belle and Sebastian with a jangling guitar that bobs along to lyrics about twisted love and the pull of depression.

Following an ode to Teenage Fanclub’s “Everything Flows”, they play the biggest hit of the night, “Archie, Marry Me”, a cleverly observational song that hides a killer chorus behind a smattering of shoegazer guitar fuzz. With flicks of Camera Obscura and lo-fi synth washes, Alvvays create relatable pop tunes with melodies as alluring as Rankin’s vocals.