February 26, 2013

"Running for Cover," by Ivan & Alyosha

This past week has marked the fabled second coming of the great 2011 Snowmageddon, or Snowpocalyse as some are wont to call it. The Midwest has been a blanket of white for the past five days or so as I write this, and it continues to snow right now. Fortunately, with classes cancelled and a healthy stockpile of microwaveable goods, I'm able to weather both the musical and meteorological apocalypses that face me, safely under cover. Unwilling to venture outside, I've also got plenty of time on my hands to write one more review of this week's free tracks.

Tim Kim, Pete Wilson, Tim Wilson and Ryan Carbary of Ivan & Alyosha. 
Photo courtesy of their tumblr and their photographer, Veronica Alba.
With this last review, I'm happy to feature a new single by Ivan & Alyosha, "Running for Cover," off of their first full-length album, All the Times We Had, released today, Feb. 26. The group's name is a bit of a misnomer, as none of the band's members are named Ivan, nor Alyosha (though two of them are named Tim). The group's founding members, Tim Wilson and Ryan Carbary derived the name from The Brothers Karamazov, by Dostoyevsky when they started working together in Seattle in 2007. Token Asian on electric guitar and a band name derived from Russian literature? I'm sold.

There are a lot of things that I like about this song, but they all generate from a central feeling of unity and cohesion amongst the band's members. Everything about this song just fits the way that it's supposed to. The acoustic and bass guitars and the driving kick drum form a steady 12/8 beat that lies back and lets the vocals really shine in this song. Tim Wilson's voice is the perfect fit for the folk-pop genre, with a beautiful tenor range for the bridge, and a great balance of grit and vibrato throughout. He has a great set of background vocals to boot, as all of the band's members chip in on the chorus. This song is meant for harmonizing, and Ivan & Alyosha does it so well. I bet they could do barbershop if they felt so inclined; all they need is a hearty bass singer (i.e. me). 

I really wish that there were more to say about this track, but it doesn't need much said about it. It's a very simple song, and in the spirit of steady folk music, it doesn't rely on any flashy gimmickry to make the listener feel, and doesn't need to. With thick, rich chords and soaring harmonies, Ivan & Alyosha lets you lean back, relax, and just breathe. Feels good, don't it? For Ivan & Alyosha's soothing folk-pop single, "Running for Cover," I give a...

4 out of 5.

Though normally I would end with the score and some post tags, I feel like noting that there are some other great tracks on All the Times We Had that you should consider purchasing. I especially liked the message of "Fathers Be Kind," the indie-pop, The Killers-feel of "The Fold," and the bouncy, folksy "Don't Wanna Die Anymore." Give the album a listen and let me know what you think in the comments below.

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