All Hours marks the fifth studio album of New York City based Ivy. This electro-pop album is a change from what Parisian-born singer Dominique Durand and multi-instrumentalists Andy Chase and Adam Schlesinger have done before.
Then again, this isn’t the first new sound the band has developed over their 17 years together. It’s not even the only band for one member, as just weeks before Ivy’s new album dropped, Schlesinger released his other new album Sky Full of Holes as the front-man of Fountains of Wayne. Perhaps it’s this band-hopping which leaves All Hours wandering the streets amongst the new age of electro-synth pop.
Ivy released their first two albums in the mid-90’s which saw immediate rotation on the college charts. Since then, the band has had notable exposure. Their TV credits include Alias, Grey’s Anatomy, and Roswell amongst others. Two of their songs were used in 1998 film There’s Something About Mary. ‘This is the Day’ uncharacteristically features horns laying down the hook over the blend of distorted guitar and clean ringing strums. Yet the song has become one of the band’s more recognizable ones.
‘I Get the Message,’ the soundtrack’s second tune faintly resembles the first. Were it not for Durand’s unique voice, it would be hard to determine whether or not the songs were from the same band. Ivy fans are in for a similar experience when they compare the 2005 release In the Clear with their current release.
Each track on All Hours is grounded by a programmed beat that stays stagnant throughout. While Ivy may be going for a certain style with this technique, it also makes for a rather boring listening experience. The first single ‘Distant Lights’ sets this trend as album’s first track, a bass that digs the same two notes throughout while a cornucopia of synth sounds weave in and out under Durand’s voice. At the song’s end, a flute (which could just as easily be electronic as could be recorded) adds to what is already outdated synth keyboards, and not in a trendy reliving the 80’s way. More like a “we didn’t upgrade our Logic plug-ins” kinda way.
‘Fascinated’ begins by establishing a hook over this Euro-style beat which evokes a darker more listenable quality… until the chorus hits and the clean ringing guitars and jubilant repeating of the song’s title completely change, and kill, the mood. On other songs like ‘How’s Never’ and ‘Make it So Hard’ the mood isn’t the issue, so much as it is the reminiscent quality of an electronic-style Hootie and the Blowfish that will make you skip to the next track.
That is, until you get to track four. Of all the tunes on the album, ‘Suspicious’ comes closest to something that might hold the attention of the listener. It’s the most current sounding song, one that fits the mold of the new-age electro-pop that the album is attempting to break into.
Despite their commercial success, Ivy failed to achieve the cult status other ‘college rock’ bands (as they used to be called) of their generation (i.e. The Cardigans). This led to them continuing to pump out albums while they continued to refine their sound. All Hours is fine only if you take it as an extension of Ivy’s discography. But if you’re putting it up against today’s indie electro-pop scene, this album’s candle won’t be burning all hours of the night.