Review: Ivan & Alyosha

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From KCRW Volunteer Taryn Olsen:

Sometimes I feel like a serious music snob.

It’s particularly noticeable when I watch a band opening for a headliner I’m really looking forward to seeing.

Friday night at the Sharon Van Etten show was no exception. The first band took the stage and I assumed my usual stance: open mind but crossed arms. Clearly the Music Gods were ready to teach me a lesson and it came in the form of Ivan & Alyosha.

With each song my barriers kept coming down until I had no choice but to give in completely to their catchy pop-folk, easy to listen to and irresistibly sing-able songs.

While I try to be a person who listens to edge-pushing or genre-expanding music, Ivan & Alyosha is the kind of thing I have to have in my music library to listen to on my way to the beach on the first days of summer. This is not to say they are fluff or that their lyrics don’t have depth – quite the contrary, which is perhaps what I love most about them. Their songs come wrapped in beautiful harmony with upbeat melodies and speak from a place of great heart.

I also appreciate when a band gets up on stage and, even after weeks of sleeping in a trailer, they somehow manage to blast you with serious energy. These guys were as fun to watch as they were to listen to – dancing with their guitars, interacting with each other, interacting with the audience, etc.

I highly recommend checking out their Tiny Desk Concert on NPR last year as well as their two EP’s and going to see them the next time they roll through – even if they’re the opening band!

-Taryn Olsen