Men who read are one thing, but a group of motivated, modest, musical men who derive their moniker from characters in the Russian novelist Dostoyevsky’s final work? Marry me, already.
Waxing superficial aside, Seattle’s Ivan & Alyosha have that whole sensitive, introspective thing down, sure, but it’s only because their at-times wistful, folk-pop charm and Fleet Foxes-esque sound simply radiates. It’s nearly pheromonal, and it’s why you’ll find yourself drawn to Soda Bar on Friday to hear them perform.
The hope inherent to Ivan & Alyosha lyrics (even their most rueful) -- warming with acoustic roundness, bright instrumental surges and comforting familiarity -- seamlessly coaxes listeners into fans. In February, Ivan & Alyosha released their first full-length studio album. All the Times We Had is pure honey, coating airwaves with a slow drip of American folk that soothes with smooth layers of feel-good, unstoppable foot tapping. The record resurrects the melodic victories "Fathers Be Kind" and "Easy to Love" from previous releases and triumphantly displays as much range as is possible within the genre. It’s produced to capture the live-performance experience so that fans can take a little piece of the show home -- which, undoubtedly, they’ll want to do.
Since meeting six years ago, Ivan & Alyosha’s founding members, Tim Wilson (lead vocals, acoustic guitar) and Ryan Carbary (guitars, piano, vocals), have followed an organic trajectory, expanding their sound, along with their lineup, to include Wilson’s brother Pete (bass, vocals) and friend Tim Kim (electric guitar, vocals). The fully formed group wrote and recorded 2011’s Fathers Be Kind, the EP that sweetened Ivan & Alyosha to indie radio and industry outlets such as Paste, NPR and American Songwriter.
Though they had toured before, the year and a half spent on the road in relentless accompaniment of that EP’s momentum marks Ivan & Alyosha’s transition into bandhood maturity -- a newfound coherence as the foursome learned how to really play together as an ensemble that’s unmistakable on All the Times We Had. It’s that newly embraced confidence that makes this Friday the 13th anything but unlucky as Ivan & Alyosha roll into San Diego.
Hannah Lott-Schwartz, a San Diego native, recently moved back to the area after working the magazine-publishing scene in Boston. Now she’s straight trolling SD for all the music she missed while away. Want to help? Hit her up with just about anything at all over on Twitter, where -- though not always work-appropriate -- she means well.