Tooth and Nail Records has successfully added another talented band onto their growing list of musical phenomena. Let me introduce you to Ivoryline - a Texas-based rock band driven by their spirituality and passion for honest music. Created in 2005, the members found harmony in similar music interests and tastes. Out of their collaboration, this stunning musical 5-piece was born.
Fitting amongst the likes of label-mates Dead Poetic and former label-mates Anberlin, many will find their electronic influenced rock similar, yet unique and mind blowing in its own way. There Came A Lion starts off with an ever-energetic and thought-provoking song, "Day's End," as it sings, "We should scream 'thank you' with every waking breath; and cry 'mercy, mercy' at every day's end… Our complacency won't last much longer; An urgency will sweep our sleeping hearts." It's a call to the "weak of mind" and a wakeup for the "complacent." Progressing throughout the album, "We Both Know" and "Parade" prove to be quite memorable tracks, and perfect precursors to their single, "Be Still and Breathe," that's already creating a rift in the airwaves. The song opens with lead singer Jeremy Gray's lone vocals, "Everything they said about you; everything they've known was wrong," and from there, the energy doesn't stop. The song deals with a struggle of sorts, as its meaning is vague enough for the listener to create his or her own story through it. However, the band's force and aggression is definitely shown through the song and very well depicts the emotion that fuels it.
From "Be Still and Breathe," the album builds on the momentum already gained from the previous tracks. However, "Hearts and Minds" takes the cake for turning up it up a notch in the second half of the record - both musically and lyrically. "My mind isn't quite sure what it has bargained for; but my heart is in time with the consistent beat of yours," sings Gray - a feeling quite relevant to the masses. Wrapping up the debut are "The Last Word" and "Bravery." "The Last Word" offers a noticeably slower tempo compared to the rest of the album. However, it still delivers the raw emotion and meaning that this band is going to be known for. It holds a beautiful sound which carries equally beautiful lyrics, "Can you see evidence of perfection? Look past the circumstance and find some meaning; if only this song could capture the peace you are seeing; if only this song could capture the hope we are seeking." "Bravery," on the other hand, picks up the beat one last time before closing out the album.
Ivoryline delivers both musically and lyrically. Musically, many will find their style and dynamic as a band similar to those of Anberlin. However, there are differences between the two. The force put forth by the musicians herein is phenomenal and are matched by strong vocals. Jeremy does an excellent job at delivering songs with passionate messages in an equally passionate tone. At the end of the song, it is as if you're gasping for a breath of air just to keep up with him. The lyrics featured in There Came A Lion, are ever-impressive and in-depth, but range in their spiritual content. Song like "Day's End" and "The Last Words" are evidently directed to a higher power, whereas the majority of the rest of the album is vague enough to where the words can become your own.
Ivoryline is an undeniably outstanding addition to the Tooth and Nail roster. This debut shows their passion and their drive to create music for merely the love of the art. That is an admirable quality, and, thankfully, one that is frequently seen in the bands here at JFH. At the absolute least, this debut is going to prove to be the start of an amazing musical career for the men of Ivoryline.- Review date: 2/3/08, written by Lindsay Wiseman
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