If there's one thing that Ivy has been consistently good at doing, it's constructing an album and effectively mixing the sonic components. Ever since their five-song debut EP, one could glimpse an amazingly well produced pop construction, all the more impressive considering the group did it themselves. So it shouldn't come as any surprise that one of the members -- Andy Schlesinger -- is also a Fountains of Wayne member, who also wrote the theme song for That Thing You Do! .
Ivy is a NYC-based pure pop band that ventures into the rich, catchy, jangly territory of the Chills, early R.E.M., the La's, and the Housemartins. But, unlike those comparisons, Ivy is fronted by Dominique Durand, a chanteuse of the French persuasion, although the backing vocals are ably done by the fellas -- Andy Chase and Schlesinger.
The only problem with Ivy has been while Dominique's vocals were mesmerizing for a while, in the past her accent became distracting over the length of an album. For some reason, however, Apartment Life doesn't seem to suffer from the same problem. Whether it's due to an added focus on the music or not, it's hard to say. For good measure, the trio has added some horns, strings and guest musicians (like James Iha of Smashing Pumpkins and Dean Wareham of Luna) to boot.
This sophomore LP is a thoroughly enjoyable album that is once again richly textured and features a variety of tempos, from sing-a-long summer pop songs ("The Best Thing") to mellower ballads ("Baker").