Alvvays Look On the Bright Side

Alvvays Look On the Bright Side
Photo by Jess Baumung
When your last name is Rankin and you perform as a singer-songwriter around the Maritimes, people are bound to make some assumptions about your music. Such was the case with Molly Rankin, who, after years spent performing with Celtic kin the Rankin Family and solo with a cast of PEI players, decided to steer away from the traditional roots music of her youth and form a band without such a weighty surname.

"The name was just subject to people jamming family history down your throat at any opportunity," Rankin says about the solo switch. "This is a great way for people to listen before judgment." And listen they did. Alvvays — the group Rankin co-created with partner Alec O'Hanley (of Two Hours Traffic fame) — finds Rankin stepping out of the spotlight and sharing the stage with some C86 sounds and '80s indie pop, courtesy of bandmates Brian Murphy, Phil MacIsaac and Kerri Maclellan.

To capture Rankin's sonic transformation, the band recorded their self-titled debut at Chad VanGaalen's Yoko Eno studios in 2012. Although the record has been completed for over a year, it took awhile for listeners to actually hear the finished product, with the band initially bypassing a traditional label and selling the album on cassette straight out of their van.

"We've all put out records and had them become sacrificial lambs that you just offer up," O'Hanley explains, as part of the reason behind the wait. "You're like, 'Oh, I really love the songs on this record and it's going be good,' and then for whatever reason it doesn't punch through the way you expect it to."

Now, having signed a deal with Royal Mountain Records in Canada, and a tour of the UK and U.S. set for later this year, it appears the release of their debut was well worth the wait.

"Patience is super valuable," O'Hanley says. "If you can just wait a little long and you're convinced your product is magic… then odds are you'll do something greater."

Read our recent cover story on Alvvays here.