It's not as if the Pacific Northwest has ever really been starved for musicians that have a knack for writing indelible melodies and crafting ebullient pop songs, but it was still something of a thrill when Seattle five-piece Ivan & Alyosha burst onto the scene. After releasing a couple EPs, Ivan & Alyosha came out with All the Times We Had, their proper debut LP, in 2013. Much of the writing about the band highlighted the Beatles-esque tendencies they have, which is fair, but Ivan & Alyosha are about so much more than worshipping Paul McCartney – their music emerged from the outer edges of the late '00s Seattle folk revival, exploring similarly rootsy territory, but finding equal inspiration in iconoclasts like Harry Nilsson, Andrew Bird, and Alex Chilton.
That first full-length cemented Ivan & Alyosha as a band to watch, but they resisted the urge to sit on their laurels. Their follow-up, 2015's It's All Just Pretend, showed a greater ability to adjust their music for the times, with opening track “Something is Wrong” presenting a widescreen, chiming anthem that felt like the band announcing themselves as an outfit worthy of stadium crowds. All of the odd sensibilities and idiosyncrasies remained, but they had aged up a bit, and they were accompanied by a steadily reinforced sense of confidence. If Ivan & Alyosha sounded a bit more like U2 or the Killers on It's All Just Pretend, it may be just as much a factor of their forward momentum of popularity as it is their leaps in sonic craftsmanship.
In the years since It's All Just Pretend, Ivan & Alyosha have remained mostly quiet, releasing the odd single here and there. So, when the title and opening track of their 2019 EP Everybody Breaks kicks off, with those impeccable harmonies coming in a capella, it feels like the band righteously announcing their return. “Everybody Breaks” – a driving number that always feels like it's full to bursting with winsome spirit – is a supremely exciting way to begin a four-song collection of bangers. The EP serves as a potent reminder that there are few who can touch Ivan & Alyosha when it comes to balancing wistful, melancholy lyrics with soaring, rafter-rattling hooks.
As beautifully pristine as they sound on record, Ivan & Alyosha's music is ideally suited for a live audience, getting everyone up and moving on their feet. When you hear a song as impossibly huge and emotionally impactful as “Hit the Floor,” you can't help but picture watching the band onstage, belting it out to a sea of revelers with their lighters raised. You'll have the chance to experience that when Ivan & Alyosha hit Fawcett Hall.
Grab your tickets to see Iva & Alyosha ASAP, they’re playing October 25th here at Alma Mater!