Alvvays – “Adult Diversion”

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What are we doing with guitars these days? Designing cryptic, pitch-altered loops; warping riffs into horrible menages of melody and tone; colliding countrified twangs into brick walls of synth to maximize that unholiest of sonic concepts: texture. Guilty as I am of championing acts that do not so much play the guitar as they do harass it, I’m also something of a sucker for good old fashioned pick-to-string indie rock: and on this account, Alvvays are happy to deliver.

The Toronto quintet’s upcoming debut was (perhaps surprisingly) produced by Chad VanGaalen, who was responsible for production on the two albums by Calgary art rock group Women. It should be said that if anyone knows how to work guitar music into terrifying equations that divide sound by space it’s VanGaalen. However, with “Adult Diversion” it really seems like he just kicked back and let Alvvays rock out in a more traditional sense. Can’t say I blame him: “Adult Diversion” marries the scuzzed out pop of  The Pastels with the more adroit guitar leanings of someone like Mikal Cronin. Molly Rankin’s vocals slide through all the six string sharpness with the laconic grace of a John Updike novel.

Both terse and sweet, “Adult Diversion” is the kind of winter track that would have you out freezing in the snow rather than bored to tears at home.

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