Release Date: May 4, 2015
Record label: Dualtone Music
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Indie Pop
After the well-received folk-rocky All the Times We Had, Seattle five-piece Ivan & Alyosha lean a little further toward an electric guitar-defined indie pop for their follow-up, the fuzzier It's All Just Pretend. While reverb and light-handed droning tones are apparent on the majority of the album instead of on select tracks, the entire set still overflows with the band's sunshiny melodies and chord progressions that evoke the mid-'60s of McCartney Beatles and sunshine pop. Typical of the album, the energized "Bury Me Deep" ("If I was to die, would you bury me deep?") kicks off with distorted guitar, then layers guitars, keyboards, and backing vocal harmonies over driving drums, topped with Tim Wilson's affable voice and even some feedback.
Seattle indie rock group Ivan & Alyosha return with their newest effort since 2013’s debut LP, All The Times We Had. The group originally began as just a duo with Tim Wilson and Ryan Carbary releasing EPs that dated as for back as 2009. But, taking their name from Dostoyevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov, Ivan & Alyosha have expanded not only their personnel (now a quintet), but they’ve also broadened their sound on It’s All Just Pretend.
While the name Ivan & Alyosha might be misleading – those unawares might assume it refers to a pair of Russian ballet dancers – it actually belongs to a Seattle quartet that borrowed that handle from the central characters in Fyodor Dostoevsky’s classic novel The Brothers Karamazov. According to their Wikipedia page, “The two characters hold opposite views of the world, Ivan believing that because ‘all things are permitted’ i.e. sin, that God is dead.
Ivan & AlyoshaIt’s All Just Pretend(Dualtone)3.5 out of 5 stars Album two from this Seattle quintet picks up where 2013’s well received All the Times We Had left off. The foursome added a fifth full time member just prior to recording and the extra hands are immediately evident. The opening trio of tracks blasts out strong starting with the pounding drums of “Something is Wrong,” into the reverb riffage of “Bury Me Deep” and the galloping “All This Wandering Around,” all of which escalate the arena tendencies and general sonic depth bubbling under the surface of the band’s previous release.
On the surface, it’d be easy to simply peg Seattle’s Indie Folk Pop band Ivan & Alyosha as just another group out to syphon off fans from Mumford & Sons. But as their sophomore full length proves, this five-piece has a sound that’s much closer to The Beatles and Big Star than the neo Bluegrass that so many seem to be peddling nowadays. They even plug in the electric guitar now and then on It’s All Just Pretend.