Blog New Album Review

“Counterfeit” by Fordmastiff – Album Review

Listening to “Counterfeit” by Fordmastiff is like peering into a dull throbbing memory of incandescent lights, cold city pavement, and merry crowds, and it wound up being one of my favorite albums of last year.

Fordmastiff is a Brazilian artist who seems to be one in an emerging scene of cassette tape based producers coming out of Brazil. This first release of theirs is a strange lo-fi concoction that is far too swirly and hazy to be techno or house, but too thump-y and danceable to be 100% ambient.

The production style on “Counterfeit” is interesting. It sounds grainy and lo-fi, but it doesn’t sacrifice anything to achieve this effect. Each and every moment of this album still sounds full and lively, and the soundscape is incredibly rich.

Perhaps this is Fordmastiff’s cassette tape style shining through. What really makes “Counterfeit” stand out though, is its sense of place.

This is a rare instance of abstract music coming through clearly and tangibly. We often hear ambient music as a set of ideas that can only be objectively described using a musical language; “the piece has this duration,” or “this section has this timbre,” and so on.

We can try to relate it to other abstract concepts, perhaps a mood or a color, but when we start to relate it to the concrete, we are forced to turn to our individual experiences to shape our conclusions.

What got me thinking about Fordmastiff’s vision on this album was an article from Daryl Worthington of “The Quietus” detailing his favorite cassette tape releases of the year. He spells out nearly the exact same conclusion that I had; which was that “Counterfeit” is about trying grasp at strands of memory. Maybe this is just a coincidence. However, I prefer to see this as evidence of Fordmastiff’s ability to gently guide the listener to exactly what he wants us to experience.

I experienced this album while walking under the moon and the sharp city lights. The timing was perfect. I was travelling somewhere, but I was enjoying myself so much just walking around that I took a couple of detours to finish the album. I was transported to another place. It was incredible.

Overall, I give Fordmastiff’s “Counterfeit” a strong ★★★★☆. Great album.

New Album Review

“Norm” by Andy Shauf Album Review

Andy Shauf is a Canadian singer, songwriter who is known for his storytelling-oriented discography.

In his past work he has fabricated a world of his own, following a list of different characters, social situations and stories. If you are interested in reading more about his past discography, read my Artist Profile of him.

His newest album “Norm” follows the morally questionable actions and intentions of Norm as his pursues his love.

As seen in some of his other releases, Andy Shauf ties in themes of high powers. Past releases such as “Satan” and “Alexander All Alone” have placed God and the devil as passive players in the stories of each character. However, in “Norm” this theme takes root at the core of the album.

Typically throughout Andy Shauf’s work each character has represented an internal struggle, memory of emotion within the singer songwriter himself.

When I attended Andy Shauf’s concert at the Cat’s Cradle early 2022, one of the fellow audience members yelled out between sets: “Who’s Judy?”, one of the most prominent characters in Andy’s past albums “Wilds” and “The Neon Skyline”. In response Andy replied simply with “Me”.

“Norm” takes a different approach. The story unfolds through the perspectives of Norm and God himself. In an interview with Vanity Fair Andy Shauf states:

“There’s multiple perspectives to the story. There’s the God perspective, there’s Norm, there’s another character. It’s a bit of a puzzle, but there’s still a lot of space in it where I don’t really spell out what happens. In the end, I think if you listen closely, you’re gonna get pretty close to an understanding. If you are purely listening to it for the enjoyment of the music, you’re not gonna catch any of that.”

One component I love about his music is the whimsical, indirect, mysterious nature of his lyrics. There are many interpretations to be made. “Norm” provides music that is deeply driven my storytelling with variety and mystery that begs for another listen.

Song and Lyric Highlights

“Norm”, the namesake track off the album is subtle, melodic, and introduces a new thematic boldness to his discography. Andy Shauf has so much control over his lyrics. He adds the perfect amount of description to create a vivid story without overwhelming the listener.

Particularly in the dialog between Norm and the Godlike voice in this track, there is so much beautiful subtly:

“And when the television’s silent
I speak into his dream
‘Stop these wicked ways
And I will lead you to
The promised land”

Following with “Halloween Store”, this song combines joyful pop with eerie illusion. Andy gives us some of his best lycris yet. Andy molds the awkwardness and minutia of daily life into compelling, graceful music:

“I wondered if I’d locked the house
Walked back and found that I hadn’t
But now my keys were in the car
Walked to the car, pulled the handle
And it snapped back, at least I’d locked one door”

This song is one of the best examples of character building within his discography. The back track gives the song such innocent optimism, but the lyrics and vocal work gives the song an underlying darkness. It is a great demonstration of Norm as a character and the world he lives in.

“Sunset” continues some of the innocence heard in “Halloween Store”, but slowly reveals the true intentions of Norm under a sweet and loving musical facade.

“You get quiet, you are scared
Just watching the sunset
And I’m letting you know
Just how long I’ve loved you for”

Each and every song off this album has such depth. If you are interested in learning more about some of Andy’s intentions and stories behind each track, Andy Shuaf had an interview with Sterogum that perfectly walks through each track.

I’m looking forward to hearing more from Andy Shauf. If you are interested in seeing him live, he will be touring to the Haw River Ballroom in Saxapahaw, NC. Tickets and show information can be found here.

New Album Review

“Heavy Heavy” – Young Fathers: A Review

Young Fathers is a Scottish indie rock trio that I’ve been following for a bit now. Their newly released album, “Heavy Heavy” is exemplary of the group’s creative spirit, and it’s one of the more unique projects I’ve heard so far in 2023. Despite the name, the album tries to bring with it uplifting energy encouraging dance and a celebration of life.

Scottish band Young Fathers at the Melt! 2015 in Ferropolis/Germany. Photo Courtesy of Stefan Bollmann, under Creative Commons.
Young Fathers at the Melt! 2015 in Ferropolis/Germany. Photo Courtesy of Stefan Bollmann, under Creative Commons.


Take a look at album opener “Rice” for example. The percussive groove on the track alone is enough to get your body moving. Towards the end of the song, the ensemble of voices chanting the chorus feels like a concert with everybody invested in ramping the energy up towards its climax.

By far the most powerful segment of the song, though, is the chant “these hands can heal”. You can’t help but join in the power of this phrase, and I think there was a missed opportunity to bring this chant back at the end of the track. Instead, the chant on the back end of the track calls listeners to “see the turning tide”. This feels less powerful, though it does more cleanly fit with the theme of sticking through the rough patches of life.

I need to eat more rice
It’ll take some time
Gonna take some time
Gotta bide my time

Lyrics from “Rice” by Young Fathers.

“I Saw”

The second track on the album is where Young Fathers seems to get into some thematic consistency. “I Saw” doubles down on the message of waiting out the rough times to get to better ones. At least here, they actually get into the source of these bad patches: abuse, especially parental abuse. Wordplay is improved considerably here, even if the music itself is more repetitive and harder to really get into.

“I Saw” also foreshadows one of “Heavy Heavy”‘s biggest flaws: not knowing how to end. Again, the track ends with a chant that feels like it goes on a bit too long given the dynamic nature of the rest of the song. Here, it’s not a big deal, but on later tracks like “Sink or Swim” the energy dies off without feeling like an emotional resolution has been reached yet.

Music video of “I Saw” by Young Fathers.

The rest of the album

While there are still great tracks left on “Heavy Heavy” the first half of the album–especially the first three tracks–is far more powerful than the latter half. A track like “Tell Somebody”, while it has a good message, has little uniqueness or clarity. It feels too direct, especially compared to the other tracks mentioned above.

“Ululation” is a pleasant embrace of two of the members’ West African histories, but it doesn’t blend all that well with the rest of the album tonally, not just linguistically. It’s an elongated interlude trying to be its own track. “Sink Or Swim”, meanwhile, feels derivative of the prior tracks on the album, as if the song was created after the album’s singles came out. It sounds shallower and more cheaply produced. “Holy Moly” sounds like a track off of a JPEGMAFIA album as opposed to Young Fathers’ own style.

Concluding Thoughts

There’s a lot to like about “Heavy Heavy”. The great songs on the album are on repeat all the time on my playlists. However, the rest of the album feels incomplete and rushed. Some songs on the album did not need to be nearly as long as they were. Others either failed to recreate the celebratory sound of “Rice” or failed to create a rich, darker sound that compliments its lyrics.

Rating: 6/10

–DJ Cashew

New Album Review

“ABSOLUTE HEARTBREAK” by khai dreams Album Review

In my 2010s listening experience— khai dreams has solidified himself as one of the founding fathers of the lofi genre. 

His discography is filled to the brim with lofi hits including “Sunkissed”, “Lost in You”, and “Through and Through”. His musical presence, for better or for worse, ignited the worldwide phenomenon of soft voices, relaxed beats, and acoustic ukulele that is the lofi genre.

However, this blog is not about his lofi accomplishments, his newest album “ABSOLUTE HEARTBREAK” dropped Jan. 2023 and is diverging from his past sound with a mix of success and failures.

This album is undeniably a great step for khai dreams. He is finally breaking out of the restraints of one genre and is dipping into a new energy. “ABSOLUTE HEARTBREAK” is refreshing regardless of its faults. Khai dreams is breaking out of the soft-ukulele-lofi energy and is honing a matured, bold, and blended sound.

Every song on the album had good and bad elements. 

Below is a breakdown of each track in the order presented in the album:


This song is a fun start to the album. It’s high energy and outlines some of the techniques heard throughout the tracks to come.

He has a melancholier approach to his vocal work, which is a nice contrast from the hopeful and loving tone used in his previous releases. This slight transition is a nice change and sets the stage for the bigger musical steps later on.

He is moving away from the lofi energy and moving towards something unique– this song is the departure.


This is one of the darker tracks and provides a little bit of a differnt tone to the album after “Bugs”.

The backing drums are nice but too simple. One gripe I have with this album is some of the backing tracks are too simple to the point they feel additive or excessive. This song is an example of that.

I enjoy the lyricism, but it doesn’t capture the listener due to the weak backing track. I enjoyed the use of different vocal tones in the bridges.

As seen in the next track, I sincerely hope khai dreams lets go of high-pitched vocal harmonies and turns to lower, darker alternatives heard in “Rats”.

“Panic Attack”

I sincerely dislike the high vocals harmonizing throughout the entire track. This song would have been beautiful without that addition.

The addition of the high-pitched vocals turns otherwise elegant lyrics and clean background into something excessive.

When focusing on khai dream’s main vocals, his tone, emotion, and subtle lyrics have so much potential. The addition is trying to be light and fairy-like but just comes off as annoying.


I want to see more of this energy from khai dreams in the future. The vocals are slightly grungy which is very new in respect to his existing discography.

Looking at the background, the drums could have had more flare but I’m just happy they are as prominent as they are.

“Not Enough”

This track is one of my favorites off the album. Although the lyrics are weaker than other tracks off this album, this song is such an excellent blend of all of khai dream’s past work and moving towards the new.

Thematically, khai has really capitalized on songs about falling in love or being in a great relationship– this song finally breaks away from this unwavering theme and introduces the opposite end of the spectrum: self-doubt, mistrust, and heartbreak.

“No Company”

This song might have been more memorable if it was placed differently in the context of the album.

The low energy in this track really interrupts the overarching composition of the album. It doesn’t take any new steps and is a continuation of “Not Enough” by pushing a sadder theme into his discography.


This track is short and sweet. The sound it achieves is extremely reminiscent of work by fellow heart-broken artist Joji. 


Released in 2021, this track is not new and does not provide anything compositional to the album. To be honest, it reminded me of a song written and produced by the Disney Channel. It’s high energy but isn’t bold– it’s generic khai dreams with a higher bpm.


This track saves the end of the album. It is confident, a little grungy, and does not sound like the average khai dreams track. It is refreshing.

This is a great example of what additional vocals can truly add to the overall song. The strained vocals in chorus amplifies the lyrics and provides a bolder energy to the song without sounding extra.

“Heartbreaker” truly holds the name of the album proudly. It is a great staple of the album— overall a nice blend of hurt and happy.

“Good Advice”

This final track is the acoustic version of a 2020 release. Although I think the original version is more successful, I don’t believe this track was intended to give anything new to the listeners.

It is simply a public reflection of what khai dreams used to be and what he is becoming. It’s a reflection of genre, the power of subtly, and the humble beginnings of khai dreams.

“I can’t be myself when everyone is needing me to change”– although written three years ago this line perfectly captures the message of this album and subtly highlights all that has changed in khai dream’s music and personal life. 

Although I wish this album ended with more of a bold stroke, this is an anticipated acoustic transition by khai dreams and a sweet end to this melancholy album.

New Album Review


By: Sumedha Somayajula

Electronic artist LORN put out a track titled “ENTROPYYY” in November of 2022. It was originally only released on YouTube, and its video was created in collaboration with Sagans. Both the track and the video are surreal experiences of their own: when combined, they’re either a source of visceral fear or tortured comfort (depending on who’s watching).

LORN is an artist who has perfected the skill of creating unnerving soundscapes and appealing to just the right demographic. In “ENTROPYYY,” he strikes the seemingly impossible balance between organicity and futurism: the concept falls apart when it leans too far into either direction. The introduction is warm and ambient, and the noise is intentionally apparent from the beginning. The initial sweetness is soon interrupted by crackly, sour notes that guide the ear to abrupt vocal chops, and in the background, an oscillating synth bearing an inquisitive quality.

Each new chord and shifting beat is coupled with cuts to brilliant AI scenes of writhing robot bodies, crowded streets of smoggy cities, and a cautiously beating heart, all crafted by Sagans, a group I haven’t been able to find much about. Their “about” page on Spotify notes that they are a group “made up of music artists, graphic designers, and AI researchers who create music and visuals with the help of artificial intelligence.” Their obscurity, however, is certainly not a testament to their creative abilities: just as dreadfully poetic as LORN’s music is, Sagans’ video offers itself as the perfect existentialist complement.

Pieces like “ENTROPYYY” as a result of harmonious collaboration between off-the-wall artists are arguably what keep the underground music scene exciting. Beyond the appeal of a wealth of  somewhat unexplored tracks is the thrill of constantly discovering new visions— now, LORN has been around for quite some time, with tracks like “Acid Rain” and “Tempered By Your Love,” but there is a constant evolution that manifests within his sound. Whether an abstract nightmare or an illustrious vision for the future, “ENTROPYYY” is, at the very least, a riveting experience. 

As of January 4, LORN’s single “ENTROPYYY” is available for streaming on Spotify.

New Album Review

“SEE YOU THERE” by Matt Watson Album Review

Matt Watson, 1/2 of the comedy duo Supermega, released his debut album “SEE YOU THERE” on November 7. The California-based musician has been working on this album for over two years and it has finally come to fruition.

Having been a huge fan of Supermega since 2016, I was pleasantly surprised by Matt’s first venture into the music scene with his EP “OUCH!” in 2020. This new album builds on the bedroom pop sound he established in that EP and embellishes it with elements of rap, dream pop and full-blown pop.

Since I am such a fan of Matt outside of his music ventures, my opinion of this album might be slightly skewed. However, it is clear that there was immense care put into this album, it comes off as a truly personal effort by Matt.


This album starts off incredibly strong with “STARSTUD”. Featuring Sarah Bonito, this song is an incredibly catchy pop jam that was stuck in my head for weeks after its release as a single. The addition of Sarah to the song makes this track a highlight on the album and the one I find myself coming back to most often.

Matt’s vocals work extremely well with dream pop songs. He dipped his toe into the genre with a cover of “Space Song” by Beach House earlier this year, which he put an excellent flair on. He steps further into the genre on this album, with “CORAL”. The echoey instrumental combined with Matt’s dissonant vocals and lyrics make it another highlight on the album.

Matt Watson, “STARSTUD” music videp

Many of Matt’s friends in the music industry, such as Kill Bill: The Rapper, Rav, and Ben Beal are pioneers in the lo-fi hip-hop genre. Matt takes clear inspiration from them while rapping, and there is no exception in this album.

“Ring Pop” featuring Father is the only song that is entirely rap and while a good track, I felt didn’t fit very cohesively with the rest of the album. I would definitely be interested to hear a full EP or album with Matt exploring this genre.

Many of the tracks on this album are in the same vein as the tracks on “OUCH!”. Songs like “WACKY”, “Aquarium”, “Work It Out” and “STUPID” are all very bedroom-poppy but feel more like full songs than the tracks on “OUCH!” did. It is clear that Matt has truly come into his own sound with these songs.


Overall, I really enjoyed “SEE YOU THERE”. Matt has begun to flesh out his sound fully and I look forward to seeing it develop further. The highlights of this album are the explorations of different genres and sounds that I hope to hear more of in Matt’s next release.

Matt Watson is touring right now on the West Coast. If you are out West, you can find tickets on his website.

Band/Artist Profile New Album Review

The Ups and Downs of Turnover

Turnover, once emo, once indie rock, now synth pop has been through many dramatic changes.

Their newest album, “Myself in the Way” has certainly been the biggest change yet. For better or for worse, Turnover has stepped entirely away from their humble emo-rock roots and is evolving into a highly synthentizer oriented band.

Past Work and Criticism

To give some history, this is not the first time Turnover has had a genre shift. Their 2019 album, “Altogether” was quite controversial due to their sudden departure from indie rock.

“Altogether” is provided many new sounds and tones from Turnover that throughly diversified and matured their overall discography. Although it was a shift, it still referenced their previous work.

However, “Altogether” was poorly received in comparison to their previous albums, “Peripheral Vision” and “Good Nature”.

In Pitchfork’s review of “Altogether” they claimed, “Turnover shot themselves in the foot at the get-go. They hoped for an album that was simple, but the banality that manifested instead was a pretty inevitable side effect.”

I as much as I enjoyed the sounds that emerged in “Altogether”, I was surprised to see them step even further away from their more popular genres.

“Peripheral Vision” was an undeniably solid indie rock album. They finally came into their voice in this album, it is hard to imagine them stepping away from it. In stead of doubling down and producing another solid rock album, they decided to explore. I don’t blame them for that.

“Altogether” was a successful exploration. “Myself in the Way” took that exploration a step too far– the result creating an unfamiliar band that is hard to connect to.

“Myself in the Way”

I have been a fan of all of Turnover’s work up until this newest album.

They have stripped themselves of all the authenticity and skill seen in “Peripheral Vision” and “Altogether” and replaced it with a hollow mess of synthesizers and autotune.

The album has been described as a blend of dream pop, disco, funk, and synth pop. Simply no reference to their perilous genres they have spent their entire careers developing.

I appreciate and admire artists that defy expectations and try something new, but Turnover is not building upon their strengths. They have ignored their best moments and amplified their worst.

For example, Turnover’s lyrics have always been on the borderline of genuine or hollow– and unfortunately the lyricism in this album is quite a disappointment. Track, “Fantasy” is the prime example of this,

“What’s your fantasy
I’d really like to know
What you’re thinking about
When your smile starts to show”

To highlight a positive, track “Wait Too Long” was a favorite on the album. Although it had very distracting, conflicting backing tracks, it was nice to hear a nice bass line and some reference to the sounds in “Altogether”.

One of the failures of Turnover in their previous work and in this release, was inserting unnecessary instruments into their songs. In track, “People That We Know” there is a rambunctious, bold trumpet line.

In the right song with deliberate placement– brass lines can take a good song to a great song. Although, in this scenario it is too timid to be the highlight yet too frequent that it takes away from the song.

To summarize, this album was disappointing and distracting.

This album truly made me doubt the overall skill of this band. Was he success of the past few albums just a fluke? Have they abandoned their roots entirely? I sincerely hope not.

Final Thoughts

I am quite interested to see how this album will be received by the general public.

Turnover has been one of my favorite bands for quite some time, but has lost some of that love in this release. I sincerely hope they return to some of the sounds in their past.

However, bands change and music change. If this is the new avenue for Turnover and this is the genre that brings them passion– so be it.

If you would like to hear more of Turnover and see them perform, they will be touring at Cat’s Cradle in Carrboro Dec. 15.

New Album Review

“White Tiger” by 2hollis – Album Review

2hollis is making a name for himself in the zone between cloud rap and hyperpop. Autotune and floaty flowy vocals on his earlier albums “THE JARL” and “FINALLY LOST” call to mind the same aesthetics as artists operating in the same space as Drain Gang.

The production on these projects is just varied enough to set it apart from the rest of the pack, with some witch house influences surfacing from time to time. On 2hollis’ newest album, he leans further into this noisy witch house sound, delivering something truly unique.

Right out of the gate, the track “gate” opens with heavy oscillating noise juxtaposed with high vocals. This sets the tone for the type of production littering this album.

The electronic backings swell and clip, flooding into the distorted vocals. A healthy dose of reverb gives most of the tracks an organic feeling of space. The result is a sound that feedbacks and folds back onto itself.

Over the past decade or so, several hip hop artists have used vocals primarily as a way of adding to the texture of the music rather than as a means of communicating information. There are several spots on “White Tiger” where this is the case. In the track “raise,” the vocals are completely buried under a pile of reverb, and yet, they still add to the track.

The production is absolutely the highlight of this album- a blend of trap, witch house, industrial, and hyperpop. At times this sounds ethereal, like on the wordy track “the light upon the surface that beckoned deep into the moment and the tiger stepped forth”, and at other times it sounds dark and looming like on “actor.” However, this album operates best when it achieves both, like on “king of the darkness.”

“White Tiger” can feel a bit repetitive at times, and if you’re looking for something really substantive, you might want to look elsewhere. Some lyrics drift into cliché, and when mixed with a thick coat of autotune, it sometimes results in discomfort.

Overall though, if you’re looking for something bigger and more grand than your average cloud rap offerings, or something several shades darker than your average hyperpop album, this is definitely something worth checking out. It’s a standout album in the field.

I give 2hollis’ “White Tiger” a strong ★★★☆☆. Good Album.

New Album Review

“Waiting to Spill” by The Backseat Lovers Album Review

It’s been three years since The Backseat Lovers freshman album, “When We Were Young”. In many ways, their first album was a compilation of songs rather than a complete, cohesive album. Each song was very good in its own right, but there wasn’t much flow between the tracks.

Their sophomore album released today after three years and three singles of waiting. “Waiting to Spill” is a complete project that flows consistently throughout, blending classic indie-rock with a variety of new sounds.

The quartet that makes up The Backseat Lovers includes Joshua Harmon on rhythm guitar and lead vocals, Jonas Swanson on lead guitar and vocals, KJ Ward on bass guitar and Juice Welch on drums and backup vocals.

NC State students got the chance to see the Backseat Lovers live for free last year at Wolfstock 2022, which was an awesome experience. Even though they were playing for a crowd of a lot of people who didn’t know them, they put on an excellent performance.

A Bottle of Wine

“Waiting to Spill” centers itself around the challenges of facing time head-on and the desire to live in the past. I greatly appreciated that this theme is on display throughout the entirety of the ten-song record, shown in various lenses.

As The Backseat Lovers thematically focus on growing up and developing in their songs, their sound also develops into new grounds on this record. Staying rooted in indie-rock, The Backseat Lovers grows into areas such as country on “Snowbank Blues” or more piano-based songs on “Words I Used” and “Follow the Sound”.

Each member of The Backseat Lovers allow each other to shine in their performances. When one member pulls back, another one fills in the spotlight immediately. At moments where all four take the spotlight together, they create a truly incredible sound. The explosion of the soundscape at the end of the album in “Know Your Name” is extremely satisfying to listen to after 40 minutes of highs and lows.

I am somewhat split on the ending of this album. On one hand, I think “Know Your Name” would have been a very conclusive finisher that would have ended the album with a satisfying bang. On the other hand, “Viciously Lonely” ties the album together thematically in a very conclusive way.

While I probably won’t go back to the first or last track very much, I think they do help make the album feel more full and cohesive. It is a difficult task to find the perfect balance to create album cohesion and songs with a lot of replay value.


“Waiting to Spill” is an excellent record. While not as catchy as it’s predecessor, “Waiting to Spill” has a cohesion and depth that “When We Were Friends” never truly reached.

The Backseat Lovers has also grown in talent over these past three years, putting on an impressive display on all fronts. They incorporate a more complex vocal and instrumental performance to highlight the complexity they are attempting to reach.

The Backseat Lovers is currently touring across the United States and will start their European leg of the tour in 2023.

I greatly enjoyed this album and look forward to whatever work The Backseat Lovers ends up doing next.

New Album Review

“Blue Rev” by Alvvays Album Review

After a long five years, Alvvays has returned with their long-awaited album, “Blue Rev.” Named after the Canadian alcoholic beverage, Rev, this album is bubbly and hard-hitting.

The band, based in Toronto, has been around for almost ten years. This album, their third, is the culmination of over half of their time together. A full profile on the band can be found here.

After many trials and tribulations (floods, thefts, the pandemic) getting in the way of this release, it centers itself around stasis and change. Antonymous as they are, stasis and change are often closely interwoven.

“Blue Rev” sees Alvvays pushing the boundaries of their sound while refining it like never before. They still have the heavy focus on melodies over genre shown consistently throughout their discography but it’s shown in new light on this album. That bittersweet sound I can instantly recognize Alvvays by has been bolstered by brilliant songwriting and guitarwork.

Album Highlights

My favorite thing about this album is how seamlessly it balances the faster, more energetic tracks with slower, more melancholic tracks. They add an element of abrasiveness to their sound on this album that is hard to miss.

Rankin and O’Haley’s songwriting is the best it’s ever been on this record. The “Blue Rev” track list focuses on events that are dramatically life-changing. Natural disasters are described to emphasize the catastrophe these changes can ensue. Rankin finds a perfect balance of reflection to learn from these moments but move on.

There are also moments in the track list that highlight all the good that can come from change. “Many Mirrors” is a love ballad in a sea of heartbreak and reflection that serves as a beacon of hope that good times are ahead.

“Now that we’ve passed through many mirrors / I can’t believe we’re still the same”

Alvvays, “Many Mirrors” Lyric

The guitarwork on this album is also the best it’s ever been for Alvvays. Each track builds beautifully throughout the song and from each song before it. The guitar and Rankin’s pristine vocals, like on previous Alvvays records, link this album together.

“Tile by Tile” followed by “Pomeranian Spinster” whiplash the listener from melancholy to euphoria in a fashion that is prevalent throughout the entire album. The band’s ability to switch between the soft, jangly and rocky, rough sounds make each song an exciting listening experience.

“After the Earthquake” starts with jangly guitars in the same vain as any other Alvvays song but before realizing it, the song has exploded with reverb and roughness. Only once the reverb comes in at full-blast into a pop-rock anthem, the song pauses for a moment, letting the listener savor the sound they just heard, before exploding again.

My only wish for the album is that it ended a song earlier. “Lottery Noises” would have been an conclusive, wipe-out finisher. The addition of “Fourth Figure” at the end makes the ending feel stagnated on, like there should be more to come.


This album took some time to grow on me fully, but each time I listen to it I find something new to connect with. Even though this is Alvvays’ longest record, I think it is their most consistent and fleshed-out project to date.

I am eager to see what Alvvay’s next project sounds like. Hopefully, they will continue to bolster their sound and will be able to release their project sooner rather than later. Alvvays is touring right now throughout the United States.