Ivy 

Guestroom
/minty fresh; 2002/

rating : 4.5

 

 

 

more info :
www.thebandivy.com

So, I am sitting here in front of this computer, sipping tea while listening to Ivy's Guestroom. And you know what ? I'm sad. It was already tough, my life. Life is hard but sometimes music help you deal with its hardness. Records like Ivy's Realistic and Apartment Life or the Fountains of Wayne's debut helped me deal with it. When my boyfriend left me in 1996 and when I cheated on him in 1998, these records were there for me. So, these two bands are really special to me, just because they're associated with bits of my life. They're like time machines. When I put one of these albums I warp back in the Summer of either year and think of swimming pools, boys in swimming suits and hot, hot water. Right now, I'm not feeling that great. I'm listening to Jonathan Richman non-stop and I'm afraid to switch the player off. Who knows what could happen ? Maybe Jonathan Richman scares depressing thoughts. 

I didn't really like Ivy's third album, Long Distance but, hey, I need a fix. I put the cd in my player with high hopes. Oh! The disappointment! Where has the catchiness gone ?!

I have forgotten to mention that Guestroom is a cover album. The five first songs were recorded not a long time ago and the five others are taken from soundtracks/singles/compilations. 

I love covers when : 
1. I can't recognize the original song 
2. They're faster than the original version 
3. They're downright weird

And I don't like covers when they're slower or just the same. And on this album, the covers sound somewhere between "slower" and "the same." The most ridiculous being Serge Gainsbourg's l'Anamour. I never was a big Serge Gainsbourg fan, but this song was cute. Ivy's cover sound like it was randomly recorded in a karaoke bar somewhere in France. I like Dominique Durand's voice, but what I like the most about it is the cute French accent. And obviously, there is none when she sings in French. Their slow and foggy rendition of the Ronettes' Be My Baby is nice, even though the Papas Fritas' live version of it can't be topped. Speaking of the lovely Papas Fritas, Ivy dared cover Say Goodbye. The only good things about it are the royalties and the publicity it will give to Tony Goddess' band. 

The last one, Orange Juice's I Guess I'm just a Little too Sensitive is very nice. But there's a trick : it was released in 1994 on Ivy's debut ep Lately (unfortunately definitely out of print). It just makes the whole thing even more bitter : they had it and they lost it. Ivy used to be one of the greatest pop bands on earth. And now they're tasteless and unexciting. I wish they had released a b-side compilation instead of this. 

-Barbara H

/nov 1st 2002/