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Ivy: Apartment Life

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Ivy

Album: Apartment Life
Label: Atlantic

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There's nothing even remotely offensive about Ivy's smooth, moody, sweet-natured pop: Throughout the band's second full-length album, Apartment Life, it hums along with nary an abrasive moment, thanks largely to Parisian singer Dominique Durand's smooth, Euro-cosmopolitan vocals. Acoustic guitars jangle alongside occasional, well-timed horns and strings, and the album's 12 songs sound slickly pretty and mannered. Apartment Life never really recaptures the sensuous style of its opening track, the single "The Best Thing," but it never slips too far, thanks to the band members' impeccably tasteful performances. Comparisons to the similarly French-accented style factory Stereolab are common and inevitable, but they don't hold up beyond the surface: Ivy's songs can be just as smooth and engaging, but they're poppier, frothier, and less ambitious. Fans of disarmingly charming, low-impact pop should really enjoy it.