At the end of the 1990's, the music industry was hit with the
boy/girl band phenomena. Sweeping the nation were countless
heavily processed foursomes and fivesomes of late teen/early
twenty hotties with marginal singing ability and some cute dance
moves. As we all know, this phase eventually died down, leaving
some room for more heartfelt and genuine artists to make a name
for themselves. But what happens when these artists begin to
inundate our musical spectrum? A new genre has begun the metamorphises
from underground sensation, to mainstream wonder, to now, a
downward decent. In the case of the much-loved (and sometimes
hated) genre of pop-punk, the turning point from new and exciting
to stale and repetitive seems to have been reached.
And there is no better way to fully display this sad fact than
by listening to Texas hopefuls Ivoryline and their full-length
debut There Came A Lion. It's not a bad album by any stretch.
It features all the components to making a decent genre record
- They go soft when they should and are loud the rest of the time,
they sing about the right topics and drum and scream and wail
in all the right places. But this by-the-book, "Dummy's Guide
to Pop-Punk" approach to music is becoming more than just
boring, it's utterly monotonous.
Weighted lyrics, dramatic titles and earnest vocals would lead
listeners to believe that this is a band with something to say,
but when it comes down to bare bones, it feels just like any other
ten-plus track set that drones on and on about former lovers and
heartbreak. And after acts like Dashboard Confessional,
Taking Back Sunday and, more recently, Fall Out Boy,
successfully worked that introspective angle to the hilt, it is
slim pickings to find something new and refreshing to cry and
patter on about.
Ivoryline's religious stance, which has been mentioned in interviews
with the band, could label them with the title of Christian rock,
and although a repellent to many of today's hard-rocking youths,
[it] at least it gives them a different angle on which to work
their music. But although their personal beliefs do make an appearance
on album-opener "Days End", the majority of the remaining
tracks are plain old pop-punk fodder for Hot Topic masses (if
they are even still interested).
It feels cruel and unfair to attack Ivoryline with this abuse
- had this album come out five years ago, then maybe there would
have been some ground not yet trodden down. But as is, little
really separates this decent-yet-bland collection of tracks from
the likes of any other number of more successful acts out today.
With so many similar artists crowding the shelves at record stores,
Ivoryline offers little incentive to listeners to pick up their
album as opposed to a well-known act that they may already be
comfortable with. And until something unique comes along, I fear
Ivoryline may be stuck as an opening act to those who do this
genre just a little bit better.
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