Alvvays: Tiny Desk Concert
Tiny Desk concerts involve challenges and constraints that aren't always immediately apparent: The crowd stands closer than many artists expect, it's truly a working office and not a soundstage, in-ear monitors are a no-no and so on. The guideline that caught Alvvays off-guard came in the form of our limit on reverb and other vocal sweeteners, which get used to glorious effect on 2022's Blue Rev, but are otherwise frowned-upon at the Tiny Desk.
The restriction forced the Toronto band — and recent first-time Grammy nominee — well outside its comfort zone. But it also shined a bright light on the radiant and expressive voice of Molly Rankin while proving, in the spirit of T-Pain, that not every vocal enhancement is there to hide imperfections. Still, Rankin acknowledged the nerves involved in making this show happen: "We've not worked up the courage to do this until today," she said with a chuckle, acknowledging (however indirectly) that we'd been trying to make this Tiny Desk concert happen for ages.
The band needn't have worried, as its magnificent recreation of Blue Rev's billowy, shoegaze-y sound lit up the room. By the time Rankin joked about replacing a retiring Bob Boilen, we were half-inclined to give her the job, just to keep Alvvays from leaving. Can you imagine a more lopsided trade?
TINY DESK TEAM
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