Ivoryline - There Came a Lion
Record Label: Tooth & Nail Records
Release Date: February 5, 2008
A band doesn’t necessarily have to be revolutionary or groundbreaking for someone to enjoy them. This is definitely the case for the youngsters in Ivoryline, a quintet from Tyler, Texas. The band recently signed to Tooth & Nail Records and released their debut album, There Came a Lion, in early February.
Ivoryline play a formulaic blend of rock and pop, not strange or peculiar for the majority of bands on the Tooth & Nail roster, such as Anberlin and Emery. One of the biggest differences between Ivoryline and those bands, however, is the vocal work. Vocalist Jeremy Gray has a much stronger voice and a more diverse range than either of the aforementioned bands.
The first thing I noticed on the album, and one of its most notable aspects, is the production. Aaron Sprinkle, who has worked on everyone from Pedro the Lion to the Deftones to MxPx, handled production duties, and did a pristine job. The songs sound clean and crisp, highlighting the band’s most notable guitar, bass, and drum tones.
“Days End,” the album’s lead-off track, is an urgent rock-anthem, much like the rest of the album. Other standout songs on the album include “Hearts and Minds,” and “All You Ever Hear,” both of which show the bands lyrical and musical potentials being peaked. Another standout track, and quite possibly the most accessible, is “Be Still and Breathe.” It has distorted vocals, electronics, a catchy chorus, and has the highest probability of making new fans.
The biggest setback of There Came a Lion is its tendency to be repetitive. Towards the middle of the album, the songs become intertwined within each other, and it's easy to forget what song you're listening to. The final track, “The Last Words,” however, is by far the best song on the album. One of the main reasons it stands out among the rest is due to the orchestral arrangements, and the lyrics in the chorus are uplifting and powerful: “Can you see evidence of perfection? / Look past the circumstance and find the meaning.”
There Came a Lion is definitely a strong debut from a band that has a lot of potential. The entire album is energetic and fast-paced, and there are plenty of catchy sing-a-longs destined to become fan favorites. The group just needs to utilize their resources and step up their game for their sophomore album, or hang up their guitars and consider themselves another notch on the bedpost of modern rock music.
Good review. These guys were my favorite new band that I was introduced to at Cornerstone last year, and I followed them with interest. I was glad to see they got enough buzz to get their album in the iTunes top 100 when it released. However, while I liked what I heard I wasn't quite impressed enough to get the album, and after this review I probably won't.