Column by Abbey Maynard
A favorite of NPR and alt-radio stations since 2010, this is a group to check out if you’re a fan of Iron & Wine, City and Colour or The Avett Brothers.
The group released its first full-length record this year called “All The Times We Had.” For local fans, it felt like an album that would never happen. It was released after seven years of writing and performing together.
The vocals of Ivan & Alyosha are Andrew Bird-esque with swells of a strange brand of reserved emotionalism that’s off-putting at times.
The music is clearly written by men from the Pacific Northwest stuck in their idealistic post-collegiate stage — wearing thrift shop corduroy suit coats, reading Russian literature and sipping Fair Trade coffee in their decorated-to-look-dilapidated studio apartments.
But this is simply a speculation. And these speculations are a bit beside the point. Because these fellas actually make pretty decent music.
The musical highlights of the record are the opening and closing tracks, “Be Your Man,” and “Who Are You.” The ferociously saccharine voice of lead vocalist Tim Wilson kicks off “Be Your Man” after a reverberating kick drum and rhythm guitar.
The lyrics are an adorable plea, begging a woman to — you guessed it — let the guy be your man. As the record progresses, so does the lyrical prose. The last track is a narrative of sorts, questioning the authenticity of (perhaps) the same woman mentioned in “Be Your Man.”
On the band’s first full length album, Wilson writes on the band’s website, “We didn’t get it perfect, but I definitely think we got it right.”
The development of the album is clear when the first and last tracks are examined, but it gets a tad fuzzy in the middle of the record.
The group has a tendency to get repetitive and falls into several indie traps like choruses and bridges full of nothing but “oohs” and “ahs” and the anthem-like chanting of single phrases.
The band, is, however, improving with touring — Ivan & Alyosha has the potential to develop into something spectacular.
The only worry is that they’ve been together since 2007, and it sounds like they’ve been living and performing in 2007 for six years now.
The sound is static. They are undoubtedly on a track headed in the opposite direction of the rest of the indie-pop/rock schema. Folk instrument-oriented, but lacking that sort of twangy hideousness of Mumford and Sons (sorry guys, not a fan them).
They are certainly not following in the humongous footsteps of Arcade Fire, Janelle Monaé and Chvrches, all groups currently seeking an electro-vibe.
Whether this is a good or a bad thing, the music is adorable and well worth a listen.
Maynard is a sophomore English and study of culture and society double major and can be reached at email@example.com