His Name Is Alive's debut album, Livonia, is the group's artiest, most explicitly experimental release. It's also the most haphazard, in terms of musical success; the affecting ("If July," "Fossil") sits next to the affected ("You and I Have Seizures," "Reincarnation"). Even at its most contrived, however, Livonia features the elements the group used later to create their distinctive style: Karin Oliver's shimmery, ghostly voice and Warren Defever's open-minded production. Defever commented later that he saw himself as an avant-garde composer during the Livonia period; the album's found sounds, tape loops, and samples do give it an artsy and occasionally precious patina. At its best, Livonia explores death, dreams, and spirituality with transcendent music and lyrics. At its worst, it's an ambitious debut, introducing a creative, aspiring band.
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AllMusic Review by Heather Phares