CD Review: Leaving Town by Ivanna
Swedish acoustic rock and experimental pop group Ivanna released in January 2017 their album Leaving Town in which they blend together influences from country, indie, pop, and punk music. Ludvig Sersam (vocals, guitar), Jonatan Sersam (piano, harmonicas, keyboard), Valdemar Sersam (drums), Johan Dahlbom (bass), and Simon Söfelde (guitars) spring from heartfelt and sometime soul wrenching emotions into an almost meditative introspection. While the main flavours of each track are the soulful and emotion-laden vocals, each of them pull uses a unique element—be it the choice of instruments or genre—to enhance the story they are telling. The meditational quality comes from the fast that Ivanna encourage listeners throughout the course of their eight-track offering to improve both themselves and their relationship with others.
The vocals in opener “Disease” feel at times a little over the top. The pop rock number starts with only a handful of instruments only to be joined by a number of acoustic instruments and an electronica sonic layer. The vocals convey well the feeling of urgency penned into the lyrics, and the passion of both the vocalist and the musicians adds the perfect touch to this melancholic number encouraging listeners to do some pretty intense soul-searching. Some older pop flavours make an appearance in “Fight Fire With Fire”, an ambitious number that brings together great guitar work and a harmonica. Quite the pop rock track, this fierce track is dramatic and throbbing.
“My Love” is a very lush and tender number, and is led by a triad composed of an acoustic guitar, a keyboard, and vocals. It is unrelenting albeit in a gentle way, like a parent prodding their child forward. Catchy and captivating, this is where the band’s self-professed Fleetwood Mac inspiration comes in loud and clear. “Money” is just as unrelenting but in anything but a gentle way; rather, anxiety permeated every note. The angst-ridden, anthemic, piano-driven “Tuesday” is the catchiest number in the set. In “The Broadway Show”, an aptly theatrical and atmospheric number, Sersam demonstrates the lower range of his vocals. This mainstream punk number oozes nostalgia as the lyrics wax poetic about rekindling the most significant romance in one’s life—the one that got away.
The emotive vocals in “Stalker” are well supported by the pop flavoured, melancholic melody that features hints of country. With “The City”, Ivanna returns to the roots it cast in Leaving Town’s first track. Nostalgic and heavy-handed at times, it evolves into a captivating number that might inspire listeners to listen to the entire album again not long after its last notes have faded into the air. Tracks are available for streaming on SoundCloud , while more information about the band is available on Facebook.
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