Yes, this is Ivan and Alyosha’s debut album, but really we’ve known about them since they played SXSW in 2010. Sincve then they’ve honed their sound and polished all the things they didn’t like with it. What has come out of that is an astounding achievement. Early on in All the Times We Had there is the flare of an early Beatles album with that light sound that 1960-65 Beatles albums were known for. That doesn’t mean it’s frivolous rock. It’s reminiscent of such surprising bands from last year as the Lumineers and Imagine Dragons. There is even a Mumford and Sons swell about it, where the songs continuously crescendo as these songs progress.
I remember people coming back talking about how great they were and wondering who they were, where they were from and desperately searching for anything by them. Well, they’ve put it together. They’ve finally, three years later, reached that point where they’re ready for you and not the other way around. You can scream for a band all you want, but most bands, not including fun. or Maroon 5, want to put out a good product that they can stand behind as well.
My only minor complaint about many of the bands that are coming out with albums today is that I wish they would learn what a snare drum is and lay off the constant use of the bass drum. That’s just a minor complaint from a guy that is to set in some of his musical ways. If you’re looking for a band that is going to talk about love, family and things that matter this is the band for you. They aren’t sappy or corny, but instead they come off as a band that will gain a legion of fans because of the sheer effort and singability of their songs.
All the Times We Had is the type of album that sparks philosophical discussions after just one listen. This is the best album of the year thus far, and really the only other album that is close is Bryan Ferry’s ragtime album. Taking this much time with this much anticipation for a debut album is rare, but Ivan and Alyosha have created a brilliant piece of Americana that sticks in your head even when you’re not listening.
There’s something that happens when you listen as well, it goes from that poppy sound to something much more sublime and subtle as the album progresses. It goes from sounding like A Hard Day’s Night to sounding like the softer tomes of Abbey Road and within this small window of time of 43 minutes and 21 seconds you see the maturation of a band. The sense I get from this band is that their methodical nature is one that translates to all that they do. The brilliance of this album is a calculated effort to not succumb to the buzz, but to make an impression that will last. All the Times We Had lasts and will last as this band climbs their ladder to success.