To whip up the chiming confections for her group’s new sophomore album “Antisocialites,” Alvvays frontwoman Molly Rankin knew she had to get away from distractions, including the Toronto apartment she shares with bandmate-beau Alec O’Hanley.
“In the city, there are a lot of fun things going on, and all of my friends live really close to me, so I get sucked in to going places with them. So I really had to block all of that out and just go on a solitary mission,” says Rankin, who appears with the band at the Fillmore this week.
The vocalist and guitarist — whose father John Morris Rankin was a member of renowned Canadian folk outfit The Rankin Family — chose autmobile-free Toronto Island, in the middle of Lake Ontario.
She lugged her amp, synthesizer, mixing desk and drum machine, via ferry, to an abandoned schoolhouse to write undisturbed, save the place’s occasionally noisy duck population.
“Which was basically the skeletal concept of Alvvays, initially; we were a drum machine band, starting out,” she says.
Rankin was no stranger to a sequestered existence. She and Alvvays keyboardist Kerri MacLellan were raised on the isle of Cape Breton, while O’Hanley and the other members grew up on Prince Edward Island.
But Toronto Island proved especially inspiring. She strung up mood-enhancing Christmas lights, slept in the classroom, and mapped out song schematics on the chalkboard and giant drafting table.
By day, she’d stroll the shoreline with her iPod, listening to favorite groups like Felt, The B-52s and The Primitives, whose propulsive punk jangle infiltrated “Antisocialites” songs “Your Type,” “Dreams Tonite” and “Not My Baby.”
“It was great just being alone and being bored, because I’m never usually alone or bored,” says Rankin. “The only time that I was on the internet was to watch basketball playoffs. I got into basketball as a coping mechanism for all the political stuff going down in the States, which was making me feel really bad.”
One cut, “Lollipop (Ode to Jim),” was rooted in Australia, where Alvvays opened a Jesus and Mary Chain tour. Each night, Rankin joined its bandleader Jim Reid onstage to trill the group’s catalog classic “Just Like Honey,” so she decided to thank the charismatic Scot in JAMC-squealing song.
Rankin is pleased that “Antisocialites” is a stylistic quantum leap forward from Alvvays’ eponymous 2014 bow and its whimsical single “Archie, Marry Me.” But not too pleased.
“I know the first record has this nostalgia for people, because it sounds all pillowy and woozy,” she says. “But unfortunately, I’m a glass-is-half-empty kind of person, so I keep looking into the future.”
IF YOU GO
Where: Fillmore, 1805 Geary Blvd., S.F.
When: 8 p.m. Oct. 24
Contact: (415) 346-6000, www.ticketmaster.comAlec O’HanleyAlvvaysAntisocialitesJesus and Mary ChainJim ReidKerri MacLellanMolly RankinPop MusicToronto Island