EP Review: RYVOLI - 'Theories'

 Lexington, Kentucky-based indie folk duo RYVOLI release their stunning, self-examining debut EP, 'Theories', produced by Chris Jacobie.

'Theories' opens peacefully with the tranquil strums of 'Ulysses'; the perfect track to show off RYVOLI's beautiful harmonies, thoughtful lyrics and whimsical arrangements as the song intricately becomes a dreamy journey of sweeping, indie folk and classical influences. In fact, that can be said about the whole EP.  'Roots' follows and is my favourite song on the EP, seeing RYVOLI call upon a more concrete, emotional, subject for its listener to attach their own story to, and gradually teases more substantial, dramatic flourishes into the piece in a way that only cinematic music can tug at the heartstrings. 

At the core of the EP is RYVOLI's debut single, 'Sleep Talking' - sparse arrangements support the conflicted nature of the lyrics and while vocally relaxed, RYVOLI continue to reveal their proficient use of creating stunning arrangements born from dramatic timing.

The sparseness of 'Sleep Talking bleeds nicely into 'Wine' whose vocal melody and lyrical content would not be out of place in The Civil Wars discography. However, its noteworthy instrumental break pulls back the band's originality and is an absolute must-listen. 

Lyrically speaking, EP closure, 'East' is arguably the most poignant and thought-provoking track on the record. While originally presenting itself as slightly solemn, this mood soon disperses;  instead replaced by feelings of hope and resolution in its jubilant, Bon Iver-esque instrumental ending. As in the EPs intro, this outro track draws upon dreamy qualities to soothe its listener; bittersweet in its majestic, confident ending. 

Through 'Theories', RYVOLI mostly explore the theme of change and try to bridge the gap between their past selves and their former selves, building a home on this record for both versions to co-exist. Although not always certain, it is a record of growth, acceptance, exploration and boldness. It is a fiercely beautiful EP which unveils new dimensions to its brilliance upon every new listen. 

Words of Karla Harris