Album Review: Ivy – All Hours

Ivy is the kind of band that everybody has inevitably heard, even if they don’t know it. Their dreamy lounge stylings have proven a hit among music licensers, and the band’s work has been an ubiquitous presence in television and film for over a decade. On their 1995 debut, Realistic, the New York trio began with a lo-fi, gentle pop sound that leaned toward the melodic. In the 16 years since that album, Ivy has ventured further into lush, atmospheric territory on four additional albums, including one full-length covers record.

All Hours, the sixth offering from the three-piece, comes six years after their last release, In the Clear, and has been described by vocalist Dominique Durand as a “rebirth” that followed an extended hiatus of the band having “no idea where [they] were going for a long time.” This “rebirth” proves to be more than a spiritual one, a sonic rejuvenation swirling from the opener “Distant Lights” and onward. A perfect choice for a lead single, “Distant Lights” is the most danceable work from Ivy yet, thanks to an electronic beat that strikes the balance between controlled cool and unrelentingly mesmeric.

On “How’s Never” and “Fascinated”, Ivy hearkens back to the days of ’80s synth pop, and as with “Distant Lights”, Ivy’s signature melodies and the breathy French coo of Durand remain integral. However, the chiming guitars of the Ivy of yesteryear have not entirely given way to synths on All Hours. Guitars and keys play together throughout, as on the bright, catchy “You Make It So Hard”, where guitars and synths both go the vintage route. All Hours sounds strongest on its more upbeat numbers, while the rest of the album consists of chill-out mood pieces that can’t stand out among their previous best, and are pleasant but ultimately forgettable.

Essential Tracks: “Distant Lights” and “You Make It So Hard”


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