In a pop-rock world of neon and auto-tune, it's not very often that a band has a clear vision for themselves, their music and what they represent. But Ivoryline isn't just any band.
In 2008, the band out of Tyler, TX released their Tooth & Nail debut There Came A Lion, which opened as one of the best-selling albums from a new band in the label's history. While it can be attributed to driving guitars and catchy choruses, the success of the band's first effort can also be traced back to the passion and integrity of the songs.
As their career developed, Ivoryline intended to expand on this sincerity. So when it came time to work on their sophomore album Vessels, they started simply. "We just started writing," says vocalist Jeremy Gray. "We didn't really have a plan or agenda for the record. We just wrote what was on our hearts and hashed out the songs together. We had ample time to get the songs just the way we wanted and had a blast writing and recording the record. It really was one of the most exciting, joy-filled times of my life."
And that genuine excitement and joy the band has for their music comes through in the songs. Joined by Guitarist Dusty Kittle, Bassist Robert Woodward and Drummer Wesley Hart, Gray and Ivoryline began taking the band's sound to a new level. "With The Daylight" and "Hearts Open" harken to the heart of the band's catchy rock core while "Search Me Out" and "Instincts" take that sentiment and forge forward to plateaus like "Made From Dust" and "You Bring Fire," which are arguably the most ethereal and moody songs of the band's career.
"Our tastes in music have changed, and we have changed as people," explains Gray. "As a band, we listen to all different types of music from classical and movie scores to metal and hardcore. Since we do all our writing together, we influence each other all the time, and we employ each other's strengths and different tastes in the writing process."
But it wasn't just enough for the songs to have more to them, the band also wanted their music to have a renewed meaning. "During the recording process, I began praying that God would literally fill our songs, lyrics, and the album as a whole with His Spirit; that he would use us as His vessels. That was just really on my heart," Gray says.
Thus Vessels was born.
"The record is definitely more honest, revealing, and spiritual than our previous," continues Gray. "We really want it to impact people in a deep way. Of course we want them to jam it and love the songs, but we also want people to be uplifted, loved, and maybe even challenged by some of the topics we address."
The band has presented this challenge across the country, touring with acts such as Family Force 5, The Maine, Silverstein and Emery. "Through the years in the band, doors being opened and closed, thousands of miles of driving, one of the main things we've learned is anything can happen. God surprises us all the time. Many of the things we have been able to accomplish have blown our minds. So we've learned to take it day by day."
And take it day by day they will, pushing upward and onward, passing on their inspiration to as many hearts as possible.