10 January 2014

Ivy League TX - Transparency

A little bit of a back story before I even begin with this album - a few days ago my friend of mine started mentioning a band that he was really enjoying.  Now, this man is one of the few people I always will take musical hints from; he has arranged for me to get a signed Zappa Plays Zappa list, his love of Elton John is bigger than mine, he used to manage one of the best venues in the North East of England where got the likes of Biohazard, Napalm Death, Sick Of It All, Gratitude amongst others to play and now he is starting a new job where he is continuing his love of music by taking over one of the newest venues in Newcastle upon Tyne.  So, when he suggests a band for me to look into I tend to take notice.  But finding out information about the band has proven a little hard.  All I can tell you is that Ivy League TX is from Midland, Texas from the USA and that they are signed to a record label called 6131 Records and this album was produced by Paul Miner (who has also worked with New Found Glory, Man Overboard, H2O and others).

Musically this is of the short, sharp song variety of song.  None of the songs reach past the three minute mark and they are over before their welcome is out lasted.  Starting with a brilliant "Canopy", from the outset you will know already from the first song what the rest of the album is going to sound like.  It is fast; it is full of energy and bounces along like a jumping bean on acid.  "History Repeats" keeps up the good work and this sound like what emo was before it became a fashion statement and was stolen by the My Chemical Romance generation.  It is a power song that would move anyone, and the same can be said about "Void" with its quieter moments (in a give sense of quite - this sort of music is generally loud and for good reasons as well).

Then comes the title track which keeps the pace moving along nicely again, the drumming is frantic and manic till the chorus where it all breaks down into a slow groove which is very thick and just a perfect back drop to the verses.  Next you have "Coalesce" which again have the fast/slow/fast verse chorus going on - it is starting to sound a little samey by this point but this does not mean it is not good, it is just that the band have a style which they are not straying from.  Until the next track the instrumental "Egress" which is a slow and moody piece that splits the album into and is actually one of the best tracks on the album as it is a contrast to what has gone on before.  After this is the Far esque "Losing Sleep" which that has the band going for the emotional jugular again and is another great example of what can be done with emotional punk when it is played right.

"Watch You Suffer" (not to be confused with the Napalm Death classic) is another ode to the broken man and his self hatred from being fucked over by a significant other; whilst I am enjoying this album I do feel like there is nothing here that is new to the world.  But I will get to that once I have looked at all the songs.  Then comes "Daily Pt 2" which has the fast bouncing and slow chorus that is about 70% of the album and there is nothing really wrong with the song, but it is not as good at "Coalesce" for instance.  Then you have "All My Skeletons" which is another good song (in fact all the songs are good), but I am feeling like I am in the same moment again, until the minute fifty mark, when it does that slow break down but with a difference.  This time it feels a lot fuller and really well played; this saved the song for me as it felt like filler for a bit.  Finishing off the album is "My Mercenary" which ends the album on a faster pace and I think this is a great ending for the album.  It fits the band that has not really let the energy down from beginning to end.

Musically Ivy League TX is a one trick pony, there is no getting away from that; so due to this fact you will either love them or hate them.  They are a marmite band and some of the songs merged into one.  But with that being said - I love it. This is a great record and it is also very easy to pick up.  For their first full album it is a good debut and I hope that there is a second one to come.  But if you want something of a complex variety (ie - Belgian free hand jazz) then you might not like this.  But I would recommend it to anyone who has the slightest interest in modern punk - thanks for the head's up Steve.

8 out of ten - Oh, now you have my attention and maybe my money, time and heart

Top track - History Repeats

You can purchase the album from Amazon here

You can visit the band's Tumblir page here

You can visit the band's record label here 

You can visit the band's Facebook here 

You can listen to the album on Spotify here

Alternatively you can listen to the album on Deezer on this link

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