Album: Take This to Heart
Label: Conta Coda Media
Take This to Heart is the debut full-length album from Nashville-based alt rockers Ivey. When I started listening to it I was instantly reminded of really old Fall Out Boy, the Fall Out Boy that had just released Take This to Your Grave and was still playing basement show in Chicago. Take This to Heart is full of hearty guitar riffs, crooning vocals, and evidence of musical prowess that is absent in many similar albums. The album is pure pop-punk gold, from the constant power chords to the lyrics lamenting various break-ups and the band’s hatred of their home town. However, it is clear that the band’s proximity to Music City has had an excellent influence on them, as their songs have a musical complexity and unpredictability that is admittedly difficult to find in pop-punk, as much as I personally adore the genre.
One of the album’s biggest strength’s is its energy. Ivey sounds like the sort of band that would be loads of fun to see live. The lead singer’s voice has lovely tone and a fair amount of range, shining on the softer song “Last Time” and in the pretty layered harmonies toward the end of “Impossible”. The guitar is mostly loud, rhythmic power chords, but with some slightly bluesy solo work mixed in to add texture to the sound. One of my favorite parts of the album was the end of “Running Around,” which consists of a jazzy acoustic guitar riff over quiet bass improvisation. I also enjoyed the soloing in the middle of “Soco,” at the part where the electric guitar swells back into the song. Imaginative additions like this are what make Take This to Heart a memorable album.
Despite its strength, Take This to Heart definitely has its weaker moments. The part of the album that stood out to me as the weakest was the beginning of the song “Soco,” which features raw vocals over an acoustic guitar. Though the singer has a nice voice, it sounds strained in this section, as a result of attempting to hit difficult notes at high volumes. The beginning of this song definitely interrupts the flow of the album, as it transitions abruptly from polished, high energy rock to mopey stripped down indie. However, the album certainly finds its momentum once again once the electric guitars come in and the energy picks up. Another weak spot was the lyrics. They were not bad lyrics, they just weren’t particularly memorable, usually discussing relationships and emotional turmoil without much literary creativity. Since Ivey’s vocals are very clear and easy to understand, I think that they could benefit greatly from exploring some more artistic lyrics.
Despite some imperfections, Take This to Heart was a solid album that gave me the fix of guitar-heavy, melodic pop-punk that I needed in my life. As this is Ivey’s first release, I am excited to see where they go as a band, as it is clear that they have a ton of potential.
Sounds Like: 2003 Fall Out Boy, Basement, The Ataris, generally any good pop-punk
Take This to Heart
Reviewer’s Name: Ruby Fulford
Date of Review: 3/17/19