Thriving Ivory

Through Yourself & Back Again

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People don’t listen to Thriving Ivory for subtlety -- they listen for big, bombastic rock songs that walk the line between tasteful enthusiasm and overwrought, over-performed melodrama. This album takes dips into both camps. At its best, Through Yourself & Back Again is a lush, grand follow-up to the band’s 2008 debut, filled with the sort of open-armed anthems also found on albums by OneRepublic and 30 Seconds to Mars. At its worst, the album ignores nuance and focuses on spectacle, from the polished Technicolor production (done by the bandmates themselves) to the theatrical vocals, which are often passionate to a fault. Frontman Clayton Stroope hangs onto his words, never letting a syllable pass through his lips without wringing it dry first, and he writes lyrics with a similar sense of zealousness. “We’re gonna fly on a white wind through a blue sky, until we’re dancing on the moonlight,” he croons during “Moonlight,” an otherwise pleasant song that sinks beneath the weight of Stroope’s self-important delivery. When music is this huge -- this self-consciously grand -- it helps to have songs that deliver a real message, but Through Yourself & Back Again only occasionally acts like it has something worth saying.

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