After listening to their debut full-length album several times in the last few days, it almost seems criminal that no one has ever heard of Ivan & Alyosha.
Maybe listeners are turned off by their rather ho-hum name. Fans of Russian literature — and who isn’t, right? — may recognize the names of two characters from Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s novel, The Brothers Karamazov.
If anything, that adds to the band’s allure. But really, it doesn’t need any other selling points besides its songs.
That is “Running For Cover”, the big single and most radio-friendly song on All the Times We Had, the Seattle group’s first LP and fourth release overall. But it’s far from the only notable song here. In fact, the disc is so loaded with catchy tracks that it will deserve consideration once the end-of-the-year lists are being compiled.
Some of the other top tunes include “Fathers Be Kind”, “Easy To Love”, “Don’t Wanna Die Anymore” and “Who Are You”. Also worth noting are “Be Your Man”, “The Fold”, “On My Way” and “God Or Man”.
Listen to this album and it’s easy to compare the group to contemporaries such as Dawes and The Head and the Heart. But Ivan & Alyosha are a little less folky and slightly closer to the rock-pop end of the spectrum, occasionally conjuring up thoughts of Wilco.
On a few songs, particularly “The Fold”, lead singer Tim Wilson almost seems to be channeling Brandon Flowers of The Killers. And often throughout the album, there is a pretty clear Beatles influence. Then again, what rock or pop band out there doesn’t get compared to the Fab Four at some point.
On their 2011 EP, Fathers Be Kind, the Beatles vibe was even more prominent. That disc also marked a clear transition for Ivan & Alyosha from a pop-folk band to a folk-pop group — if that makes any sense.
Their debut release, the 2009 EP, The Verse, the Chorus, was kinda reminiscent to Coldplay and maybe a little Snow Patrol.
While these EPs are strong in their own right, it’s their latest release that should finally help Ivan & Alyosha reach a larger audience.