Thriving Ivory

Thriving Ivory

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While all eyes were on Coldplay in 2008, Thriving Ivory made a slow ascent up Billboard's Heatseeker chart and, thanks to a late-year surge, climbed to the number one spot shortly after the new year. The quintet builds rock songs in much the same way as its influences, with compelling piano-based riffs slowing seizing the audience's attention and eventually building to a cathartic climax punctuated by drums and ambience. Though distinctive in its own right, the band's sound does take cues from Our Lady Peace and Radiohead, or maybe the middle ground between Remy Zero and Frou Frou. Vocalist Clayton Stroope quivers his way through verses and seems to get caught up in every syllable. His raspy tenor is an acquired taste, perhaps, but it's integral to the Thriving Ivory sound, and imagining the album without his voice is like Guns N' Roses sans Axl or R.E.M. minus Michael Stipe. The album's first single, "Angels on the Moon," climbed into the Top 30, and other ballads like "Hey Lady" and "Twilight" helped the group secure a strong following on the road. This album has all the intangibles in place and leaves no emotion unstirred.

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