'Next of Kin' by Alvvays
"Next of Kin" may be classifiably twee, but its beachy, seafoam sound belies a much darker lyrical underbelly. It may be the catchiest surf-pop song ever written that’s actually about drowning.
In fragments and flickers—a stolen look, a hand slipped out of reach, a sudden yet deafening silence—singer Molly Rankin pieces together an allusive portrait of human loss, one which may be marked by drug use (“You took something before you went in the shower / To help suppress the things that make you feel uptight”).
The ambiguity provides an unsettling counterbalance to the track’s toe-tapping jangle, but the irresistibly bright hooks save us from being similarly drowned in weighty subject matter. It’s a mix of sunny fatalism that places the band in the forlorn company of Camera Obscura and Morrissey.
Just try not to get too carried away when singing along to: “No color to his skin / inform the next of kin.”