Alvvays releases cinematic tune from upcoming album


Photo courtesy of Genius

Alvvays, an indie-pop band, released their newest single “Easy On Your Own?” on Aug 10. The song is featured in the group’s upcoming album “Blue Rev” that is set to release on Oct. 10.

By Sydney Wood, buzz Editor

To release an early track for an upcoming album is a great accomplishment for any band, yet this rings especially true for indie-pop band Alvvays, whose upcoming album has taken five years to put together. 

Released on Aug. 10, “Easy On Your Own?” is a single from Alvvays’ third studio album, “Blue Rev,” which is set to be released on Oct. 7. Two songs are already available from the anticipated 14-track LP: “Pharmacist” and “Easy On Your Own?” 

Alvvays consists of keyboardist Kerri MacLellan, guitarist Alec O’Hanley, bassist Abbey Blackwell, drummer Sheridan Riley and Molly Rankin on vocals and guitar. 

Formed in 2011, the Canadian band signed to Champaign-Urbana’s most prominent independent record label, Polyvinyl Records, in 2014 and has stuck with the label since.  

On its website, Polyvinyl describes “Blue Rev” as not simply reasserting “what’s always been great about Alvvays” but instead reimagining it. 

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They have, in part and sum, never been better,” according to Polyvinyl.

“Easy On Your Own?” opens with a few seconds of distortion that eventually fade into the band’s crescendoing indie-pop instrumentation. 

Rankin soon enters the picture, singing, “I dropped out / College education’s a dull knife / If you don’t believe in the lettered life / Then maybe this is our only try.”

These lyrics — coupled with the brief distorted introduction — create an almost cinematic experience in “Easy On Your Own?” within a few seconds of the tune being played. 

Rankin goes on to criticize the conventional expectation of attending college only to “burn out before you can get paid” while also questioning whether obeying this expectation is an avenue for change and growth, or if it’s just another way to maintain stasis. 

“And how I gauge / Whether this is stasis or change,” she sings, “Fill out the requirements on the page / And burn out before you can get paid.” 

In the pre-chorus, Rankin adopts a unique cadence, saying, “‘Cause we’re always / Crawling in monochromatic hallways.”

In “Crawling in monochromatic hallways,” she emulates the way she sang “‘Cause we’re always” in terms of pitch and rhythm, which emphasizes her earlier message of remaining in a state of stasis.

Up until this point in the song, Rankin has vaguely addressed her questions and fears of inaction to another unidentified person. As Alvvays moves into the first chorus of “Easy On Your Own?,” Rankin asks them to leave if they don’t like the idea of change. 

As she sings, her voice soars over the driving drumbeat, steady bassline and harmonic melodies from the keyboard and guitar. Rankin’s voice remains slightly translucent though, and its haziness adds another — albeit thin — layer to the already textured instrumentals. 

The first chorus blends smoothly into the second verse, where Rankin asks the unidentified person, “Ever lay back and watch the sunrise / Ever hear violins in your mind / You know it’s only wind outside.”

Afterward, Alvvays jumps right back into the pre-chorus before moving into a second, revised chorus that references the tune’s title. 

“If you don’t like it, well / Say it’s over, well / Weekends alone,” Rankin sings. “Does it get easier on your own / Does it get easier on your own?” 

In the bridge, Rankin once again speaks to the unidentified person, saying, “I waited so long for you / Wasted some of the best years of my life / And I wanted to see it through / This time / This time.”  

As she sings, the keyboard takes on a dominant role, playing soft, long-toned harmonies while Rankin’s hazy voice and other instrumentals gradually build strength, crescendoing through the lyrics, “This time / This time.”

The third and final chorus in “Easy On Your Own?” starts off quieter than the others, as Rankin sings, “If you don’t like it, well / Say it’s over, well / Weekends alone.” 

Suddenly, the tune reaches its peak as Rankin repeatedly sings, “Does it get easier on your own?” 

At this point, there are a lot of simultaneously occurring moments that create a textured soundscape within the final moments of the tune. Rankin’s voice works well with the complementary guitar riff and powerful drum set, creating a fitting end to such a cinematic song.  

“Easy On Your Own?” is multi-layered in texture and lyrical design. It’s a pop tune that delves into shoegaze-inspired effects like guitar distortion and hazy vocals, yet this lean toward shoegaze doesn’t make the song an opaque wall of sound. Instead, it enhances Rankin’s voice and allows it to shine through.

As we anticipate the release of Alvvays’ upcoming album on Oct. 7, it’s safe to say that “Easy On Your Own?” has only made this wait harder. 


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