While the late ’90s was cluttered with bands merging electronica with rock, the subsequent years leading up to now, saw the two genres take completely different routes, one going into EDM, and the other into nu-metal extremes. There has since only been a handful of bands able to successfully straddle both genres with ease. In 2017 we have AYVY – an Electronic-Pop and Alternative-Rock duo formed in Helsinki at the beginning of 2015 by Hugo J and Mark V. The name results from an acronym out of “Audio and Video And…” denoting the aspirations to eventually make AYVY an art collective branching into Films and other mediums. The Latin American background of its members also makes a cameo appearance (in Spanish, “Y” means “And”).
AYVY actually doubles the dose and straddles two crossover over genres – Alternative-Rock and Electro-Pop – resulting in two separate album releases during May. “Schizostereoparanoia” dedicated itself to alternative-rock, while “Neon Lullabies” went the electro-pop route. Twelve tracks deep, “Schizostereoparanoia” packs considerable punch. Leading off with the mid-tempo “Uno”, which quickly establishes the tone and mood of the album. Somehow effortlessly blending electronica and melodic elements with crunchy modern rock without sounding contrived, the rest of the album proves that AYVY is anything but a one-trick pony.
Later tracks such as the hard-hitting, “Temples” featuring some sweet delicious vocal passages, expand the scope of the group’s sound, effectively eliminating any and all expectations of what is to come. One of the true highlights of the album, however, would be “No Reply” wherein the vocals spews creepy verses over an equally malevolent yet insanely catchy backbeat. Somehow this one song defines and encompasses all that AYVY stand for: accessibility combined with innovation.
This album is a rare example of music which manages to be dark and moody without causing involuntary wrist slitting or head-bang whiplash. Another highlight, the track “The Long Goodbye”, contains simple, effective riffs obscured by gritty overdrives and thundering bass beats that are utterly addictive.
The track also reveals the band’s knack for increasing the tension and power, as well as forging a sweet falsetto vocal. The result is a track which swells and pumps along, carrying the listener on a musical water-slide. The steady rhythm combines with the mysterious lyrics on “Girl-O-Phone” to provoke a sense of electrifying anticipation in the listener.
But there are many standouts on this album, which swoop and fly to capture the listener’s attention. Not least, among these you will find, “Welcome to the Cycle”, “Epilotereaux”, “Half Truths and Fables” and “Rise”.
AYVY are truly part of a rare breed of artists. They belong to a movement arguably started in the eighties, perfected in the nineties, but now frequented by only a handful of outstanding interpreters. These are the bands that will save the world from hyper-conformist electronic music.
No two songs are alike on this album, and yet they all come together somehow to make one cohesive statement. The fact that one 12-track album can accomplish so much speaks volumes about the raw talent on hand here. “Schizostereoparanoia” is truly a state-of-the-art piece that never bores and never yields to expectations. Be prepared for a genuinely exciting trip across various genres.