Personnel: Scott McCloud (vocals); Steve Osborne (guitar, keyboards); James Iha, Jody Porter (guitar); Mel Davis , Sarah Kishinevsky (violin); Emily Yaffe, Emily Yaffe (viola); Laura Usiskin, Laura Usiskin (cello); Z? Luis (strings); Jeremy Adelman (trumpet).
Audio Mixers: Steve Osborne; Adam Schlesinger; Andy Chase .
Recording information: STratosphere Sound, New York, NY.
Photographers: Chase Jarvis; Toshiyuki Tajima; Ryan McVay; Stefano Giovannini; Ihoko Saito; Roger Wright ; Nitin Vadukul.
IN THE CLEAR continues Ivy's move toward an ever more sophisticated, breezy brand of pop that falls somewhere between electronica, lounge, post-punk Britpop, trip-hop, and Top 40 radio accessibility. While those elements may sound like uneasy bedfellows on paper, Ivy stirs its ingredients together with an elegance and skill that make the synthesis seamless. As usual, the lush, alluring singing of Dominique Durand, gauzy and intimate as a breath in the listener's ear, certainly doesn't hurt matters, and neither does the smooth veneer of the album's fine, detail-rich production.
In addition to the expansive feel of "Nothing But the Sky" (with its layers of guitar, piano, synth, and vocals) and the easy, bouncing grooves of "Keep Moving," IN THE CLEAR is distinguished by its dedication to chiming, moody guitar pop that sometimes recalls the Smiths and the Cure. "Tess Don't Tell," for example, jangles its way toward a memorable chorus. The pitch-perfect pop of "Corners of Your Mind" is so familiar and appealing that it pushes one's pleasure buttons immediately. With both bright, up-tempo pop and darker atmospherics, Ivy has crafted a meticulous, highly enjoyable record with IN THE CLEAR.