BY JOHN B. MOORE
On the surface, it’d be easy to simply peg Seattle’s Indie Folk Pop band Ivan & Alyosha as just another group out to syphon off fans from Mumford & Sons. But as their sophomore full length proves, this five-piece has a sound that’s much closer to The Beatles and Big Star than the neo Bluegrass that so many seem to be peddling nowadays. They even plug in the electric guitar now and then on It’s All Just Pretend.
While the record starts off a bit uninspired, by the third song in, the more upbeat sing-along “All This Wandering Around,” the band picks up a grove that doesn’t let up until the soft acoustic closer. In between, the band covers a slew of emotions from doubt and unease to outright euphoria. And though a song like “Tears in Your Eyes” may sound like an early Travis track, lyrically, it is an undeniably beautiful song. The track “Let Me Go East” finds the band bringing in a Rockabilly sound that is as solid as it is surprising.
Though it may not be perfect from start to finish, there is plenty to like about It’s All Just Pretend and serves as a great argument that the band is much more than just another neo folk also-ran.
DOWNLOAD: “All This Wandering Around,” “Tears in Your Eyes” and “Let Me Go East”