Tuesday, April 29, 2008
This Is Ivy League--This Is Ivy League (2008)
Artist-This Is Ivy League
Album-This is Ivy League
Release Date-Apr 1, 2008
Review-The duo behind This is Ivy League (Alex Suarezand Ryland Blackington) are also members of the touring band for emo comedians Cobra Starship. This leads to an interesting dynamic in their fan base, which seems split between teenaged Cobra fanz on one end of the spectrum and indie poppers with an affinity for hushed, Simon & Garfunkel- styled tunes on the other. The duo's first full-length album delivers on the promise of their debut EP and while it may not set the young girls hearts aflame, it is a satisfying album full of hooky tunes, relaxed performances and an easy-going charm that makes it perfect listening for a variety of twee occasions. Influenced by S&G but also Belle & Sebastian-influenced strum pop, bossa nova and 50's pop, the duo's sound is built around lightly strummed acoustic guitars and then filled out in most cases with gently rocking electric guitars, restrained drums and some fancy accouterments like organ, handclaps and harmonica. Most importantly though are Suarez and Blackington's voices as they twine together in warm, rich harmonies that conjure up turtlenecks, fireplaces and mellow beverages on the ballads, sweet and lazy summer days on the more up-tempo tracks. Their individual voices are fine, very lovely in fact, but the record really soars when they work together. Tracks like London Bridges (reworked here in a slightly slicker version than the one found on the EP), the nearly rocking Celebration and A Summer Chill should be staples of indie pop play lists all summer long, dreamy tunes like Til the Day and Viola are enough to ward off the chill of a fall evening. This is Ivy League may not be enough to knock top tier groups like the Lucksmiths or Camera Obscura off the summit of the indie pop pile but it does make a strong case for the duo to be ranked up there as some of the best pop going in 2008.