Bright and sunny pop music on a radiant blue sky day: Sunday at Fun Fun Fun Fest was tailor-made for Canadian band Alvvays, which drew a large late-afternoon crowd to the Orange Stage and further extended the good relationship they’ve developed with Austin audiences through buzzy SXSW appearances.
Their 2014 self-titled debut album wasn’t even out yet the first time they visited, but this time around, its songs were familiar to many in the crowd. Even if you didn’t already know them, they’re the kind of tunes that sink in quickly, thanks to lead singer Molly Rankin’s clear and sweet vocal delivery. Her fellow guitarist Alec O’Hanley and keyboardist Kerri MacLellan at times chime in with appealing harmonies, while bassist Brian Murphy and drummer Phil MacIsaac keep the rhythms relentlessly lively.
Based in Toronto but originally from Cape Breton and Prince Edward Island in far northeast Canada — Rankin’s late father was a member of renowned Canadian folk group the Rankin Family — Alvvays plays melodic pop that’s very much of the moment, even as its songs benefit from traditional roots that sometimes show through. The late-set track “Dives” in particular, chosen after Rankin mentioned she might like to dive into Lady Bird Lake after the set, felt more trad-based with a waltz-styled rhythm.
The only downside to the band’s set was its brevity: It started 5 minutes late and ended 5 minutes early, perhaps because Alvvays has yet to build up much of an original repertoire. They played nearly everything on their nine-song debut, the only release they’ve had so far. More music will be welcome when it arrives, both on record and onstage. In the meantime, the group’s fans beamed and many sang along when Alvvays closed their set with the minor hit “Marry Me Archie.”