Bishop Ivy establishes his own brand of melodic, modern-day pop music with All Things Temporary, an EP that introduces the young songwriter as one of the genre's newest boundary breakers.
Diverse and cinematic, All Things Temporary takes its cues from a broad range of mainstream sounds, pulling together elements of alternative pop, rock, trap, and electronica. At the center of that wide-ranging mix is Ivy — real name: Cam Crowley — who pulls triple-duty as the record's writer, co-producer, and chief instrumentalist. Inspired by a life-changing move from Massachusetts to Texas while Ivy was still in high school, All Things Temporary roots itself in songs about change, innocence, and angst, exploring familiar themes from unfamiliar angles.
Years before he began writing these five songs in his Boston bedroom, a young Ivy spent his weekends busking on the city sidewalks of Back Bay. He was a 14 year-old street performer, attracting audiences with his covers of songs by Ed Sheeran, the Weeknd, and Tom Odell. As he grew more confident, he began experimenting, too, running his acoustic guitar through a loop pedal and playing with new effects. Back home, in the recording studio he'd set up in his childhood bedroom, he worked on his own songs, channeling the energy and eclecticism of his street performances into original music.
At sixteen years old, he released an introductory EP, King of Hearts, under his birth name. One year later, his family left Boston and returned to their home state of Texas, a move that required Ivy to uproot himself from both his social group and the career he'd been building back East. That move is the central theme of All Things Temporary, which finds its teenage creator coming to the grips with the loss of a home and the gain of something new.
All Things Temporary also marks his first release as Bishop Ivy, a name that doubles as a nod to a track on Frank Ocean's critically-acclaimed Blonde. "That album was hugely influential on my own sound," Ivy explains. "Frank Ocean labeled it as a pop record, but there's so much experimentation. He brought all of these eclectic sounds together, from rock to hip-hop, which inspired me to experiment more with my own music. I began using more synthesizers. I began sampling a bit, too."
Mixing organic instruments with digital sounds and non-musical field recordings, All Things Temporary tells the story of Ivy's relocation to Texas. A handle of samples — a train station here, an alarm clock there — are tossed throughout the tracklist, driving home the central themes of transit and passing time. The tracks are sequenced in chronological order, too, with each song representing a new plot point in Ivy's story. The album's opener, "15," finds him still living in Boston, comfortable with his familiar surroundings, while "Nomadic" and "Ghost" both find him in Texas, missing the previous home he left behind. By the EP's end, Ivy comes to terms with his situation, accepting it as another temporary challenge.
There are ethereal synthesizers, programmed drumbeats, vocal hooks, and acoustic guitars sprinkled throughout All Things Temporary, with Ivy's unforced singing and smart, melody-driven songwriting occupying the spotlight. He nods to John Mayer during "15," channels a unique mix of Radiohead and Kendrick Lamar with the thumping "Nomadic," and builds his way toward ethereal heights during "Ghost." Each song flows into the next. Recorded in Nashville with the alt-pop duo Apollo LTD (whose two members serve as the record's co-producers), All Things Temporary is vivid and colorful, like the soundtrack to a film that doesn't yet exist.
Released during his final year of high school, Bishop Ivy's All Things Temporary is an album of melody and movement, with songs that take aim for the head, heart, and feet.