Review Summary: Criminally Underrated Indie Pop Gem
Ivy is a band destined to be ignored by music history. The sum of their fame comes from several soundtrack appearances and a office store commercial, yet very few bands in their position have released something as simple and sublime as Apartment Life.
Apartment Life draws from a number of influences, yet it always comes across fresh and tasteful in its adaptation of styles. The opening track, "The Best Thing", chugs along with rippling atmospherics, and threatens to lull you to sleep until the punk-ish guitar attack that is clearly derived from the Pixies loud soft dynamics. Mid-album stand out "You Don't Know Anything" comes off like a My Bloody Valentine song with intelligible vocals, with a sliding, reverb heavy hook and pummeling drums. "Quick And Painless And Easy" is the best song Radiohead never wrote, except that singer Dominique Durand has a voice deeper than Yorke's brittle yowl.
Dominique Durand is probably the bands most valuable asset. Her voice is somewhere between Nico and St. Vincent, with a distinct French accent, and yet it comes off as something completely fresh. Her voice effortlessly floats into the mix, aerating the songs with her serene voice.
While an album like this is usually only as good as half the sum of its influences, it retains enough originality to provide an indie pop experience that is unique. The best track is the airy, weightless "This Is The Day", a song that seems to be the proverbial antecedent to Spoon's "The Underdog", with blaring old-timey horns and a contagiously catchy hook, if you only have a dollar, download that track. Other unique cuts range from poppy dance rock numbers to reggae to jazz. All the tracks feature an immaculate and accented production that may turn off some but make an excellent headphone listen.
The albums only weakness is over stretching itself over too many genres, yet almost all the tracks are gems in their own right, and for a band that is quietly being buried under the memories of 90's alternative, that is quite an accomplishment.