Ivan & Alyosha are recording an album that isn’t quite finished, but the band’s frontman says it gets the Seattle band back to how they operated and sounded early in their career.
For Tim Wilson and his band, Ivan & Alyosha, 2017 marks both a return to the group’s songwriting roots and a creative evolution toward a more mature musical presentation and orientation.
The five-piece Seattle band, known for playing a brand of shimmering rock and folk music often accompanied by a four-on-the-floor kick drum, has honed their creative efforts, says Wilson, while also giving themselves more time to experiment, write and record as opposed to, say, spending a lot of money on producers and engineers to mask uninspired work.
“Time is an enormous and important resource,” explains the contemplative frontman, whose band plays the Neptune Theatre on Friday, Sept. 15. “In the past, we threw a lot of money at recording and not very much time. This time, it’s more of a return to how we started. We wanted to get back to a place where we could enjoy the process and have that time to be creative and get the performances we wanted.”
Ivan & Alyosha
9 p.m. Friday, Sept. 15, Neptune Theatre, 1303 N.E. 45th St., Seattle; $13.50 (800-745-3000 or stgpresents.org).
Wilson, with a laugh, says the band’s last full-length, “It’s All Just Pretend,” was an effort upon which the group “swung for the fences and struck out.” The album featured some of the band’s glistening signature tunes, but it also moved in a new, harder direction that, in the end, may not have been in line with the soul of the group. “But this new record,” Wilson says, “is more of a return to an early sound, the kind of music we love. It doesn’t feel forced; instead it feels right in the pocket of where we should be.”
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Prior to 2015’s “It’s All Just Pretend,” the group had released a record every two years since their debut EP in 2007. The band, featured in 2009 on NPR’s top 100 of SXSW, offered a bright sensibility on many of their songs while also serving up ideas of reassurance and insight, like on 2013’s “The Fold,” in which Wilson sings, “Don’t you fold / when the mountain is high / when the river runs dry.” But the group can also be cute and loving, as on “Be Your Man,” where Wilson croons, “I wanna be the man / who gets you all the presents underneath your Christmas tree / well, they’re all from me!”
Ivan & Alyosha’s upcoming record remains under wraps for the most part, with Wilson saying the work is about “75 percent done.” The band recently played a live set on 107.7 The End’s Locals Only show with host Steven Graham, showcasing a handful of new songs. The performance is part of the new and “intentional” way the group, all of whose members are married and many of whom are parents, orients itself toward touring and performing their work in public. “I feel like we put in a lot of years to do what it takes,” says Wilson. “We toured, built a fan base — but it’s a different season now.”
Nevertheless, he says, the music on the new album will remain in the “folkier” vein upon which Ivan & Alyosha made their name. “There’s some chilling-out on this new record,” he says. “We’re not trying too hard. There’s a little bit of darkness, too, but overall it’s a more mature presentation of what this band can do.”