Sunday, October 16, 2011

Music: All Hours review

Ivy, my favorite indie pop band, disappeared for awhile after the release of "In The Clear" in 2005. Though that album featured some great pop songs, it was getting obvious that Ivy had taken their signature sound (breathy mantra-like Parisian vocals, layers of jangly guitar lines) about as far as it could go. What was intended as a brief hiatus became an extended departure as the band struggled to cobble together something fresh.

Six years later, Ivy has finally returned with "All Hours," a CD of 11 new tracks, including the leadoff single "Distant Lights":

There's nary a guitar in earshot on "Distant Lights." Instead, you'll find a club-ready bassline and catchy keyboard hooks, with the nocturnal feel continuing through the rest of the album. I particularly enjoyed the cheesy '80s synth vibe of cuts like "Fascinated" and "How's Never;" as Ivy frontwoman Dominique Durand notes, listening to this part of "All Hours" is like being inside a Greek discothèque.

I found the latter half of the album to be a bit too mellow; songs like "I Still Want You" and "The Conversation" sometimes step over the line from hypnotic to somnambulent. In the aggregate, though, this is a seductive collection of songs that bring to mind 4 A.M. cab rides, conversations shouted over the din of a throbbing dance floor, and chance meetings that lead to "Eight more hours in your chair/Dirty clothes and dirty hair."


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