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Jim Ward – Quiet EP (2007)

May 5, 2009
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Another former punk star turning to folk? Do we really need that? We’ve already got Chuck Ragan and that guy from The Lawrence Arms doing their thing but I guess Jim Ward was never really was a punk as though dudes. At The Drive In may have been punk in spirit and energy but Sparta were just sort of… flat. Ward sounds more enthusiastic here at least than he did on the last Sparta album (the really shit one) and to be honest this really isn’t quite a bad little EP.

Starting with some chugging palm muted chords that sound like a train Ward moans “I’ve been travelling a while / haven’t found a place to call my own”, his voice is suitably strained while lightly strummed acoustic chords meld with soft piano. Some lovely backing vocals are provided by (after reading the liner notes to make sure) him…self? Just at a higher register and it creates a nice harmony, although I’m pretty sure that’s girl singing back there and she appears on a few tracks that really bring some texture to the EP.

“Coastline” shows a bit of gospel influence with a shaky beat and lovely singing that I really didn’t think he could pull off. There’s no shouting of “GET AWAY GET AWAY!” on offer here even though he does come close at times, albeit he is more restrained than his old self. I think what I’ve discovered here is that Ward really is a good song writer, these songs, for the most part are solid with good lyrics and nice instrumentation. At times it feels much more like a collaborative record than a solo offering but I’d count this as a strength. It seems like maybe Jim should have got into this folk thing a little earlier and maybe just bypassed Sparta all together. It’s not the most original or well written thing I’ve ever heard but it is pleasant and I would’ve checked out a full length if he’d done one, but his new(ish) effort with Sleepcar looks pretty similar and he has another solo EP out this year. His voice really surprised me in this context and I think he deserves to find a new audience with this type of work.

Jim Ward – Quiet EP (2008)
Official Myspace

One Comment leave one →
  1. May 6, 2009 9:00 pm

    The punks turning to folk seems to be happening quite a bit lately.
    Dallas Green is another one, but I think he’s been doing it for quite a while.

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