Alvvays plays Momentary Sept. 9 in support of new album, ‘Blue Rev’

Alvvays plays Momentary Sept. 9 in support of new album, ‘Blue Rev’

“I think one thing I’ve failed to do is to really center a lot of the songs about my own life and real circumstances,” ” says Molly Rankin, lead singer and guitarist of Alvvays.

“I’m more just channeling my moods and my feelings into little short stories almost,” she says of the song on “Blue Rev,” the album that dropped this past October.

Among the standouts is “Pomeranian Spinster,” a catchy B-side to singles “Pharmacist,” “Easy On Your Own?” “After the Earthquake” and “Belinda Says.”

“We were applying for visas, I think it was for Japan,” Rankin remembers. “The only options that women could check [on the application] were married or spinster,” she laughs. “So we all became spinsters for that tour.”

As the “Pomeranian Spinster,” the platinum blonde Rankin slips into the character of a snarling diva whining “I don’t want to be nice” over heavy guitars and danceable keyboards in one of the album’s most punk rock tracks.

“I find a lot of fun in just inventing story arcs and characters, and ‘Pomeranian Spinster’ is one that was really fun to think about,” she says. The album also features a low-key ode to Belinda Carlisle and the late Tom Verlaine of Television.

“[Carlisle’s] ‘Heaven Is a Place on Earth’ is just sort of is a huge anthemic, timeless masterpiece that can be blasted in any circumstance it seems,” Rankin says. For “Tom Verlaine” she says that they weren’t necessarily bound by his sound. Instead, he’s more of an archetype, as she sings, “You were my Tom Verlaine/Just sitting on the hood.”

“We had been huge Television fans for a long time and really love his guitar style,” she says. “If we have managed to pilfer anything from Television, I would be more than overjoyed.”

Blue Rev grew the keyboard-tinged yet noisy pop sound present on Alvvays’s self-titled 2014 debut and their 2017 follow-up “Antisocialities.” Five years later, they’ve overcome quite a few setbacks aside from the global pandemic and lockdown to bring “Blue Rev” into being.

Early demos for the album were stolen from Rankin’s apartment, one day before a basement flood nearly ruined all the band’s gear. Band changes left them without a rhythm section, Then border closures kept new drummer Sheridan Riley and new bassist Abbey Blackwell out of Canada until the lockdown let up.

Thankfully keyboardist Kerri MacLellan is never too far away.

“We’ve been friends since we were tiny and still are so close,” Rankin says. Both MacLellan and Rankin come from large musical families. In fact, Rankin is the daughter of the late John Morris Rankin, a fiddler with the Celtic folk family collective the Rankin Family.

“[MacLellan] was pretty much my only neighbor on the road we lived on, so we had no choice,” laughs Rankin. The two grew up in rural Judique, Nova Scotia.

“She’s just so good-natured that she can be thrown into multiple situations and just exist in this really peaceful, fruitful way for all involved,” Rankin adds.

“Alec and I are a little bit more intense,” she says of the guitarist and partner Alec O’Hanley, whom she began working with in 2010.

“I met him in my late teens. He was playing in a bunch of different bands who I really loved, and I eventually met him after a show and he offered to just work on some of my music with me,” she says.

The couple live and work together to this day — once they get away from distractions.

“There’s something about just being bored that facilitates creativity,” she says. “I’m one to be easily distracted, especially by just really mundane things. … Every day Alec and I work on little things and ideas and are always jotting things down and looping chord progressions and trying to shape our next project. It’s this ever-shifting, growing organism that at some point amounts to a body of work.

“It’s like doing a thesis. If you’re not working on it, you feel awful about yourself.”




WHEN — 8 p.m. Sept. 9

WHERE — On the Momentary Green, 507 S.E. “E” St. in Bentonville

COST — $39 general admission; $25 student; $200 premium


BONUS — Julia Jacklin is special guest.

Categories: Music