There’s far too much new music to keep track of every album and single that comes out, but sometimes a song pops up after the fact and just latches on. “Archie, Marry Me” by Alvvays is one of those songs.
The track comes from the Toronto band’s self-titled debut LP, which they released in July. It’s frankly hard to believe the group is Canadian and not from a slightly shabby bohemian neighborhood in London (if London still has those kinds of neighborhoods), given the sweet, wistful melodies and churning guitar noise that make Alvvays sound like little sisters to the Raincoats.
Though the quintet projects a studied air of yearning melancholy, there’s a thread of very dry, very straight-faced wit running through their songs. “If I had known you couldn’t swim we would never have gone in,” frontwoman Molly Rankin sings to a love who slipped out of her grasp in a river on “Next of Kin.” With chimes of guitar and a pumping bassline surrounding Rankin’s reflective voice, the tune is an immensely catchy addition to a strong catalog of dead-boyfriend songs dating back at least to “Leader of the Pack” by the Shangri-Las.
She’s just as sharp on “Archie, Marry Me,” which is as tightly crafted a pop song as you’ll hear this year. Presented as a request for a low-key commitment from a churlish-seeming sort who has “expressed explicitly your contempt for matrimony,” the billowing squalls of noisy guitar, and the mounting intensity of Rankin’s pleas, suggest the narrator has more chaotic impulses at work. (See the lyrics here.) It’s droll, evocative and irresistibly catchy — perfect for the tail end of this waning summer, though there’s an excellent chance “Archie, Marry Me” will stay stuck in your head well into the fall.