Jim Ward - "Quiet in the Valley, On the Shores the End Begins" CD Review (Tembloroso Creative Lab) ~ BrooklynRocks: NYC Music Blog

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Jim Ward - "Quiet in the Valley, On the Shores the End Begins" CD Review (Tembloroso Creative Lab)

Sparta / Sleepcar mainman Jim Ward’s latest release, Quiet in the Valley, On the Shores the End Begins, combines his three solo acoustic EPs (which originally came out as a limited edition pressings on Ward’s Civil Defense League label) with a new 6-song EP that contains electric versions of selected tracks from the EPs.

The disc starts with the five tracks from “Quiet” (2007) which finds Ward occupying a similar space to A.A. Bondy / James Apollo and telling road-weary tales of relationships and breakups, accompanied predominately by his acoustic guitar. Maura Davis (Denali / Ambulette) adds some sparse backing vocals on “Take It Back” but this portion of the disc doesn’t really start to open up until the gospel-tinged “Coastline”.

While both “In the Valley, On the Shore” and “The End Begins” both have dark edges, there is a bit more energy behind these songs which, coupled with additional instrumentation and backing vocals, adds some rays of hope behind the darkness. Tegan Quin (of Tegan and Sara) sings harmony with Ward on “Broken Songs” and this song also brings in the use of a cello. “My Town” (also on “In the Valley, On the Shore”) is another stand-out track that bustles with almost the same energy that is found on the electric version of this track (which is on the bonus disc). Both the instrumentation and energy ramps up for “The End Begins” and one of the standout tracks is the liltingly bouncy “Waves in Spanish”.

In a MySpace blog post, Teagan Quin talked about hanging out with Jim “when his band Sparta [was] opening for Velvet Revolver”. While the electric disc doesn’t have the same intensity as Sparta did, one can feel the fires still burning. These six tracks sound like a great “lost” roots-rock album from the mid-80’s and captures everything that was right with college rock/radio after the new-wave bubble burst. The electric version of “Take It Back” shines with harmony vocals and ringing guitars and “Mystery Talks” is the sort of song that U2 forgot how to write after The Unforgettable Fire.

Quiet in the Valley, On the Shores the End Begins comes out August 2nd through Tembloroso Creative Lab.

Track List:

“Quiet” EP
1. On My Way Back Home Again
2. Take It Back
3. Mystery Talks
4. Coastlines
5. Easier Said Than Done

“In the Valley, On the Shores” EP
6. All That We Lost
7. Broken Songs
8. My Town
9. The Newest One
10. This Love Has Gone Away

“The End Begins” EP
11. Lake Travis
12. Waves In Spanish
13. Decades
14. The Beginning Of The End

“The Electric Six” EP (Disc 2)
1. Take It Back (Electric Version)
2. Mystery Talks (Electric Version)
3. Coastlines (Electric Version)
4. Broken Songs (Electric Version)
5. My Town (Electric Version)
6. Decades (Electric Version)

Jim Ward