Deconstructing the Texas Stereotype: Ivoryline Shows East Texas How to Rock

When the boys from Tyler started out, the band was still called Dead End Driveway, and they were clearly defined by sharp bass lines and insightful lyrics. Since that time, they’ve seen a name change, several changes in band members (though guitarist Dusty, bassist Robert, and lead singer Jeremy are all founding bandmates), and a definite evolution in sound. Becoming more popular has also made the band considerably more mainstream, taking off some of their hoarse edge and replacing it with the shadows of European synth pop. The end result is a sound somewhere between Canada’s Alexis On Fire and Iceland’s Sigur Ros, two indie bands well-worth the emulation (a discussion of music with Ivoryline’s bass player will yield mention of the latter as a discernable influence), with the look of Texas scenesters in their very early 20s. This look neatly fits the majority of their fan base, who won’t mind that three of the six band members have the exact same uber-trendy haircut and employ near-identical methods of flattening their hair down with their hands while talking so that it falls into their eyes.

In fact, these boys from east Texas are everything that you would expect them to be – they play music at the church every Sunday (the Vineyard down in Tyler), unless a gig prevents this. They play wholesome Christian venues a decent amount of the time; their fan base is mostly young kids who were pulled in by word of mouth and oftentimes their parents. Their music, however, is a force to be reckoned with, and letting the band’s painfully predictable image drive you away would be a horrible mistake.

Their lyrics aren’t what writers would call particularly insightful, but they certainly take old sentiments and present them in a new way, which is far more than one can say about the vast majority of popular music these days. These boys certainly don’t shy away from their feelings, either, with bold proclamations like “you’re bleeding so much when I get to you, I just stare/ My heart drops, and I just stare” heading up their songs. If nothing else, one should give them a listen, if only to encourage musicians who aren’t afraid to sing about feelings without being sappy or hiding behind pseudo-intellectualism. Ivoryline’s members never claim to be brilliant, just very honest and very real.

Perhaps the most refreshing thing about this band is how overwhelmingly honest they are; you’ll never see them pretend to be anything that they’re not, and one can only hope that this is something they can maintain when the day comes (and it will) that they’re picked up by a label (rumour has it that the boys are hoping for a deal with Tooth and Nail records, which produces a slew of popular Christian rock bands as Anberlin, The Classic Crime, mewtihoutyou, and Underoath).

Give the boys some credit; small town life is never the easiest thing to overcome, but with a strong sound with international influences and a brazenly honest streak, these good ol’ boys from Texas will make a name for themselves, regardless of how predictable one might find the route they take to get there. Ivoryline kicks off their national tour on June 10th in Dallas at the Door, and they then make a beeline for the west coast.

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