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Live Review: Alvvays

January 29, 2015

Music | by Sophia Miles

Last week I went along to The Deaf Institute in Manchester to see the Alvvays headline show, supported by Moon King. Both bands hail from Toronto in Canada, and are relative newcomers to the music scene – Alvvays debut self titled album launched in July last year (hitting the number one spot in the US College Charts), whereas Moon King’s first LP ‘Secret Life’ is released on April 14th this year.

Described as an “Indie-pop wonder” by Rolling Stone, Alvvays are signed to Transgressive, Polyvinyl and Royal Mountain Records in Europe, the US and Canada respectively and have been playing together since 2012.

Moon King

The gig was a fairly early affair, Moon King (duo Daniel Benjamin and Maddy Wilde) were off stage by 9pm, after playing tracks from their two EPs; ‘Obsession I’ and ‘Obsession II’  as well as latest single ‘Roswell’, a breathy, guitar filled tune with a cowbell and some ‘80s style keys thrown in for good measure.

Alvvays greeted the crowd after a short interval, the five of them just about fitting onto the modest podium with their instruments. It was a sold out date on the tour so the audience were very much keen to see the performance, and the energy in the room was contagious – something which the band played upon with their interactions. Lead singer Molly Rankin confessed to be excited to play Manchester due to her love for local Noel Gallagher; an influence apparent not just in the bands’ music, but also in their personal style, as all donned plain t shirts and jeans in a nod to the casual grunge style of the ‘90s.

Having only one album to draw from, they played the majority of it, including singles ‘Adult Diversion’, ‘Archie, Marry Me’ and ‘Next Of Kin’, as well as a cover of Deerhunter’s ‘Nosebleed’. Rankin’s sugary voice is reminiscent at times of Karen O of Yeah Yeah Yeahs fame, and complements the mellow distorted guitar chords and simple beats that are synonymous with Alvvays. She sings so nonchalantly it is hard to believe it requires any effort, yet the band all seemed very humbled at the gig’s impressive turn out and the amount of people singing along to every word.

They returned within seconds of exiting to perform their encore, of non-album track ‘Haircut’ and their version of The Primitives ‘Out Of Reach’. The event was all wrapped up by ten past ten, yet the band assured us this was due to an impending curfew, and stuck around afterwards to sign merchandise and chat to fans, which was a welcome sight for a group of musicians that are clearly on the rise to fame.


Sophia Miles