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Band Review: Thriving Ivory

So I have been obsessing over this band lately. THRIVING IVORY. I even wrote about it in the AUB student newspaper (Outlook) a couple of weeks before.

You can download their debut self-titled album here. The album is mainly Piano Rock and Alternative. Below is the article I wrote.

One of the newer bands on the music scene is Thriving Ivory. This American alternative/piano-rock band originates from Santa Barbara, California and relocated to San Francisco. Thriving Ivory reached instant fame with their first self-titled album, which was re-released on June 24, 2008. This album was originally released in 2003, but was not well publicized. The sound of the second release was inspired by bands such as U2 and Coldplay. The debut album hit #1 on the Billboard Heatseekers chart on the strength of the charting single "Angels on the Moon." After half a year, Angels on the Moon appeared on the US Pop 100 Chart, reaching at number 28.

This five-piece band challenges one of the 10 Commandments of Rock: "Thou shall not prefer pianos to guitars." But on Thriving Ivory, the group latches onto one soaring mid-tempo rocker after another, as their lead singer Clayton Stroope serenades his eternally broken heart over keyboards, bolstered by guitars and strings. While they share some similarities with the Coldplay modern-rock crowd, the band pulls off the tricky proposition of being sensitive without slipping into utter wimpiness.

Not surprisingly, much of the material on Thriving Ivory has to do with love – often, Stroope is either pining for a girl who dumped him or dealing with an unhappy relationship, about ready to go south. The album’s opener, "Runaway", sets the tone. Borrowing the searching tone of U2’s grand "Where the Streets Have No Name," Runaway finds Stroope counting stars and journaling his thoughts, hoping to find contentment after a series of disappointments. Scott Jason’s hopeful keyboards and Drew Cribley’s forceful guitars underscore the singer’s determination to find a fresh start and the song is just one of many on the album which tries to counteract sadness with swelling choruses.

"Twilight" is a quicker paced, less repetitive, and quite catchy tune. The best part of the song would be the simple, yet elegant piano that fits quite well with the tone of the song. This song can be seen being featured prominently in movies and television, if ever released as a single.

"Alien" is the most personal song in the album, according to Keyboard player Scott Jason. "That song is about my brother. And my brother, he's a brilliant, brilliant, brilliant kid, a full scholarship to Berkeley, and he's gone through some pretty heavy stuff. So that song is really personal," he said.

Other great songs in this album include: "Hey Lady," "Long Hallway with a Broken Light," "For Heaven's Sake," and "Day of Rain." All of the songs on this album are amazing, and once you start listening to one of them, you cannot stop, and it will get you hooked on piano rock. Perhaps, however, the most ingenious of their songs is their 2009 single "Flowers for a Ghost," which captures tremendous emotion with Thriving Ivory's usual piano rock style.

All in all, this band has a great future heading their way, especially since piano-rock is not very common these days and there's a high chance of huge success for their upcoming album.