I’m just going to start with the punchline: I love Ivan & Alyosha, and I think you will, too.
Hailing from Seattle, this folk-pop band began as a two-piece in 2007 with Tim Wilson and Ryan Carbary, who drew their band moniker from characters in Tolstoy’s The Brothers Karamazov (already a cool move). Since then, they’ve grown into a four piece, opened for the likes of Brandi Carlile and The Low Anthem, been featured on NPR, and been a critical favorite at SXSW.
All with good reason. They don’t just sound good. They write spectacular songs.
Take, for example, the opening track on their debut full-length album All the Times We Had, released just this week. “Be Your Man” drew me in immediately, both with its catchy melody and hooky lyric: “I wanna be the man / To give you all the presents underneath your Christmas tree / They’re all from me.” When you consider these lyrics are carried by the effortless, Roy Orbison-esque voice of Tim Wilson…I just melt.
Song after song on the record is like that, from “Fathers Be Kind” (already a popular tune from an earlier EP) to “Running For Cover” to “The Fold” to “Don’t Wanna Die Anymore”…the list goes on. Hit after hit, in my opinion. Ear candy for everyone.
Indie acts naturally struggle to reach a wider audience, although acts like Bon Iver and The Lumineers have given us plenty of hope lately. But Ivan & Alyosha definitely deserves to be heard by that wider audience, and since they have one of the most appealing sounds I’ve heard from a folk-pop band in a long time, I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if we hear a lot more about this band in the days to come.