Ivan and Alyosha – It’s All Just Pretend
Dualtone Records
-out now
3.5 / 5

Five-some Seattle-ites Ivan and Alyosha come with a strong sophomore album centered on singable melodies, earnestness, and rockin’ simplicity. It’s All Just Pretend is easy to get into, straightforward, and perhaps not as deep as we’d truly like. But what’s here is pleasant and good, filling, and satisfying.

Our favorites come at opposite ends of the spectrum. First, “Modern Man.” It’s a 70s rocker laden with a bit of reverb, the kind of guitar hook way from left field out of an acoustic ensemble. It’s gritty and good. The closer, “Don’t Lose Your Love,” is more where we imagine Ivan and Alyosha, acoustic and sweet, sincere and ambling. It’s a quiet little solo from frontman Tim Wilson. Our complaints come in the form of two goofy tracks – “Let Me Go East,” with a traditional bluesy rock strain, and “Oh This Love,” upbeat and maybe a little over-accented with horns. They’re not especially bad tracks, but don’t quite blend in on this collection of eleven. (Neither does “Modern Man,” but we can’t complain there.) The whole of the album is a bit uneven, but still worth the time.

We’re still digging those first two EPs, Fathers Be Kind and The Cabin Sessions, which we still feel are this group’s apex. For now. Still, enjoy It’s All Just Pretend until they come out with their next.

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