"You're really easy to love," Tim Wilson sings on the third track of Ivan and Alyosha's newest album, All the Times We Had. That's what I keep thinking for a fair assessment of the Seattle quartet's first full-length. It's easy listening in that it would sound just as good acoustically as it does in its light-electric form. Nothing brash, brave or new is happening, just clever stories told over usually downtempo folk guitars, keys and simple drumbeats.
Conscious or not, there is a subtle sadness in every track, mainly through the melodies, which fits perfectly in tone since the band is the namesake of two characters in Dostoyevsky's The Brothers Karamazov. But the album is not a nihilistic love story, despite its many lyrical generalities. "Who Are You" picks up speed with a catchy chorus—"Who are you when no one is around"—while "The Fold" sets the mood for an invisible sunset on a snowy, overcast day. All the Times We Had is an accessible package of emotion and the lighter side of folk rock, but definitely heavy enough to move you.
Ivan and Alyosha and Baby & Bukowski play Stage 112 Sun., June 30, at 8:30 PM. $12/$10 advance at stageonetwelve.com.