As a disgusting heat wave settles into Toronto, it seems once again the right time to pull out the old music-writing cliché of the “summer album.” A young band out of London, Ontario deliver summer in spades with Mary, the latest EP from Ivory Hours.
Ivory Hours have everything you need for a great summer album— boy-girl vocals, laid back instrumentals and a whole lot of fun. Check, check and check. The band is like a slightly-less-complicated version of Said the Whale.
Over the six songs of Mary you’ll probably end up with quite a bit left in your head, as the band clearly has an ear for hooks. There’s the youthful exuberance of “Nettle,” with its summery guitar chords and sort-of-breathy lead vocals from Luke Roes, backed up by equally nice vocals from sibling Annie Roes. Or the deceptively warm vibe from “Young Blood,” actually a song about that one thing missing from your life that would make you happy.
The title track is equally subversive. Underneath some very pretty guitar work is a song about a dangerous addiction: “Mary felt a little low, needed a pick me up / Mary tried a little coke now she can’t get enough” starts up the song, and it only further explores the effects on the song’s subject, as she finds herself unable to sleep and starts to become more paranoid.
Less subversive is the breezy opener “Hello Honey” which also highlights one of the band’s greatest assets—Chris Levesque on bass. His loping bass lines are great, and it stands out especially here. “The Attic” is another fun song, as a simple tribute to a loved one.
Simplicity is key for this band—no songs breaks the 3.5-minute mark, and the instrumentals never overwhelm the vocals. A solid summer album indeed.
Top Track: “Hello Honey”
Rating: Strong Hoot (Good)