“Feel the tension in the easy air / It’s weary and worried.” The line is taken from Theories’ “Ulysses” and stands as a thesis statement for RYVOLI’s debut EP, a collection full of anxieties and uncertainties, yet balanced by its feathery harmonies and rich orchestrations. The Lexington, Kentucky duo of Samantha Howard and Jenn Whiteman have only just begun their venture together into the broader indie folk landscape, but growth and change are life topics they’ve tackled in tandem since their original meeting in Paris years ago.
Their harmonious chemistry comes to bear beautifully on “Roots”, which struggles with inhabiting the space between yearning for the roots which used to define them and who they’re now becoming. Earthy cello lines weave through swirling acoustic guitars to ground the track, serving as a great example of producer Chris Jacobie’s masterful grasp on orchestrating to mirror and elevate the song’s lyric.
RYVOLI’s battle with anxiety continues on the remaining three tracks, evoking pictures of unfaithful relationships on “Wine” (“You smell like wine and your eyes still shine / From the way you wore him on your arm last night”) and asking on the closing track, “Will we ever know if it’s enough? / Will we ever know what will become of us?” These are the questions that can haunt us daily and consume our thoughts if not kept in check. For RYVOLI, Theories is a debut to be proud of, delivering a quiet strength in the midst of uncertainty and saying, yes, it is enough.