Modern indie pop’s top dream masters Alvvays helped Central Park’s Summerstage celebrate Canada Day with all the proper petrol to take off to the Great White North. In the span of just two albums this Toronto-based band has ended up dominating the international alternative music scene with seriously smooth harmonies and warmly mellow grooves that hypnotize the soul.
Ontario’s shoegazers Ellis opened the show, and it seems as thought they have one of the biggest buzzes going on in modern music since she released her breakout debut EP The Fuzz last year. Since then, Ellis, aka Linnea Siggelkow, signed to Fat Possum and released a gorgeous new single called “Something Blue.” Her sound is a delicious combination of the most sweet and sour, with the most angelically delicate honey-sweet harmonies pooled with loud and proud guitar soundscapes. That dichotomy sets up an enchanting canvas that paints you both sides of reminiscing, you can both fondly remember and still bitterly recall past loves as the same time. Ellis is a true wonder to the senses and is definitely an artist to eagerly behold.
The Vancouver trio of The Courtneys popped into the lineup playing to the backdrop of the 80’s John Cusack classic Better Off Dead projected behind them for some unexplained reason, as bassist Sydney Koke asked the audience “Do you know what movie this is,” seeming clueless of what movie it actually was. She also said during the show, “We’re not touring, we just travelled all the way here for just for this show.” Koke, guitarist Courtney Loove, and drummer Jen Twynn Payne all take turns fronting the songs, and they do produce a classic 90’s alt sound. They also had some indie buzz a few years back, but it does seem like they are ready to start their climb back up the charts, as they have some dates planned later this Summer.
Given the mellow bop of their sound, I think many newbies may be surprised how much this band really boogies on stage. Alvvays has always reveled in a distinctively shimmering and mellow sound, but frontwoman Molly Rankin really does lift the songs off the ground and ascends them into the heavens, as she cranks things into fifth gear with that distinctively exuberant and high-pitched “WOO!” Childhood friends of frontwoman Rankin and keyboardist Kerri MacLellan form the core of these dream weavers, but the whole extended band brings out a fully realized and gorgeously lush sound like Berlin session era Bowie and Eno mixing with Camera Obscura or Belle and Sabastian. They played all their best songs (although I’d be hard-pressed to find a clunker anywhere in their catalogue), like “In Undertow,” “Archie, Marry Me,” and “Dreams Tonite,” but they also had some surprised up their sleeves, like the cover of The Breeders’ classic “Divine Hammer.” This was the perfect band to share an evening in the park with, and one I hope to hear a lot more from in the future.
Article: Dean Keim