Blue Rev ends with a rhapsody. The angelic strings and choral vocals of closing track ‘Fourth Figure’ capture the album’s soul-searching tenor, its attempts to find harmony in a chaotic world. For all its bright and confident veneer, Alvvays’ third full-length Blue Rev is primarily concerned with instability and the intangible. ‘After The Earthquake’ frantically flicks between memories, while ‘Easy On Your Own’ reflects on “wasting the best years of my life” and how to “gauge whether this is stasis or change”.
Alvvays’ anxious emotions are bolstered by potent imagery, as highlighted by ‘Easy On Your Own’s evocative “crawling in monochromatic hallways”. Alvvays also conjure some sharp narratives that often possess a touch of the literary. There’s the nuanced escape fantasy ‘Bored In Bristol’ as well as ‘Pharmacist’, which drip feeds vivid details like a beguiling short story.
Musically, Blue Rev is as glossy and viscous as previous Alvvays releases. Their jangly indie side shines through on ‘After The Earthquake’ and ‘Many Mirrors’, yet it’s the more ambitious cuts, like ‘Tile By Tile’ and ‘Belinda Says’, that stand out. ‘Belinda Says’ is particularly strong, cranking its instrumentation loud like an especially light-on-its-feet take on shoegaze.
Alvvays’ musical craft isn’t always the most singular, but its myriad layers occasionally transcend the weight of their influences and become something potent and unique. These moments, combined with the consistently strong lyrics, make Blue Rev a small but compelling step forward for the band.
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