There was a full and atmospheric Junction J2 to welcome Alvvays from Canada and Real Estate from the USA.
Alvvays are a fizzing and fully formed five piece indie pop band, playing catchy songs from their outstanding self-titled debut album. Molly Rankin fronts the band and plays guitar, with excellent interplay with Alec O’Hanley on guitar and triggered effects. There is strong support from some deep bass synthesisers, drums and incisive basslines (played on a Hofner violin bass, Beatles fans!). This instrumental line up extends the variety beyond the indie guitar of ‘Atop a Cake’ to the more introspective keyboards of ‘Dives’. The engaging personality and sparkling voice of Molly shines through best on the two last songs ‘Adult Diversion’ and the memorably named and poignant ‘Archie, Marry Me’.
It was a brilliant performance, they won over the audience completely and as they later posted, they thought ‘Cambridge is cool’.
Real Estate are a completely different prospect, a band playing longer pieces, involving and intricate, two guitars, electric piano, bass and drums with occasional vocals from founder member Martin Courtney. Psychedelic sounds, a sort of indie-rock version of the Grateful Dead with shades of Gomez too (remember them? their album ‘Bring It On’ won the Mercury Prize in 1999..). The setlist drew several songs from the current album ‘Atlas’, there were some good exchanges with the audience and we were immersed in the musicianship and mellow feel of it all.
As the band say, their music ‘conjures quiet, late-night drives down wooded highways, rural rambles with friends (and maybe a love interest) on the sunniest afternoons of the year, and hazy summer evenings spent alone, thinking back to those times and the people who were with you for them’. I couldn’t put it better myself..