Ivan & Alyosha: All the Times We Had


Videos by American Songwriter

Ivan & Alyosha
All the Times We Had
Rating: 3.5 stars (out of 5)

This oddly monikered Seattle four piece—named after two characters in Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov, for those not schooled in Russian literature — revels in acoustic-based yet sweeping soundscapes indebted as much to Phil Spector as The Lumineers. Lead singer Tim Wilson’s sweet, subtle voice helps these lovely strummers take flight, keeping the melodies up front while offsetting their grander ambitions with his sympathetic approach. The throbbing rhythmic undercurrent that pushes the closing “Who Are You” even sounds like U2 in their War days. While the blueprint of starting songs with sparse accompaniment and gradually building to resounding sing-along levels isn’t exactly fresh, the music is so well written that it avoids sounding like a cliché. The only aspect preventing this from being arena perfect is the arenas the act hasn’t graduated to, at least yet. But when he plays to the back rows with “big issue” songs like “God or Man” and “On My Way,” Wilson keeps things from devolving into the parody so many have fallen prey to with committed singing and lighter-waving tunes that feel like keepers after the first spin.

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