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Arts and Culture

The Brothers Ivan & Alyosha

Russian literature meets Ricky Nelson in this week's Seattle buzz band.

By Thom Wong 19 May 2011 | TheTyee.ca

Thom Wong writes regularly about music for The Tyee. He can also be found ruminating about the state of menswear at The Sunday Best.

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For kicks, Ryan Carbary and Tim Wilson like to debate the existence of Eric Clapton.

There are several things you might suspect about a band named after two brothers from a Russian novel. That they have pretensions. That they drink tea. That they are with beard. What you might never assume is that they would take as their inspiration the music of the '50s, and, more specifically, the dulcet tones of one Mr. Ricky Nelson.

Yes, the travelling man himself can be heard all over Ivan & Alyosha's EP, Fathers Be Kind, in its lilting melodies, shaker-heavy percussion, and, most of all, in the harmonies of the five-member band. Lead singer Tim Wilson's voice is, and there's no way around this, absolutely beautiful, his songs like a version of "Lonesome Town" if it wasn't about suicide and instead the way your heart feels when you see the girl you love or experience holiness (which is basically the same thing).

Title track "Fathers Be Kind" mixes all of the above to exalting effect, and wouldn't sound out of place in a Baptist church. This feeling becomes literal in "Glorify", although the chorus takes a few liberties with Biblical virtues:

Glorify the lord above
with your drink and making love
Glorify the lord my son
with your whisky and your gun

There is no fat on this EP, the fact of which alone makes it worth picking up. Throw in that it's now available for free on the Seattle band's site, along with a ton of other content, and you really have no excuses not to embrace your inner Dostoyevsky.  [Tyee]

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