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Thriving Ivory
Thriving Ivory
Wind Up Records
www.thrivingivory.com


Rock music has always been a hotbed for not so perfectly pitched vocals like Rod Stewart, Geddy Lee of Rush, and Jamie Hartman of Ben's Brother. Now Thriving Ivory joins that roster with the coarse textures and high pitched register of their lead singer Clayton Stroope. His rough vocals skim across the melodies creating a layer of sandpaper-like abrasions rubbing against the wavelets of orchestral rock and power pop channels. Produced and mixed by Chris Manning, Thriving Ivory's self-titled album takes the spiritual side of the road in modern rock with tracks like "Overrated" and "For Heaven's Sake" showing that faith is the starship that pulls people from the clutches of despair.

Faith is the dominant force that drives Thriving Ivory's songs, like in "For Heaven's Sake" when Stroope tells, "Pull yourself together / Before you set yourself apart / Make every door you walk through / A living work of art / For Heaven's sake / For Heaven's sake there's more at stake." Many of the images in the lyrics express emotional pain and dissatisfaction in life. The songs are written in third person as Stroope's words come off like a pep talk or guiding force to the protagonist in the stories. The music is good melodic rock propelled by power pop shafts and harmonizing chord movements that regulate the dynamics. Each song is equal in value to the others, with flouncy showers made by keyboardist Scott Jason and soaring vibrations speared by guitarist Drew Cribley molding the melodies as the rhythm section of bassist Bret Cohume and drummer Paul Niedermier chisel the crests across the movements.

Thriving Ivory's self-titled release has a Christian rock emission reflective of Jars Of Clay, Switchfoot, and Australia's Alabaster Box. It's an enjoyable album but it lacks anything that would make it outstanding. Stroope's vocals are unique sounding and congeal into the melodic netting, but the songs are too generic sounding to make a case for Thriving Ivory's potential. The band's strength rests in their lyrics which focus on the power of faith and the only factor in their music that sets them apart from anyone else.

-Susan Frances

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