Album Review: Jim Ivins – Late Night Drive [EP]

After three years of fronting a band that carried his name, Jim Ivins has decided to try his hand at going solo, releasing the five song EP Late Night Drive. The songs are bolstered by Ivins subtle, warm yet robust vocal style, nesting somewhere between Sufjan Stevens and Jeff Buckley. The lyrics paint gorgeous aural landscapes when partnered with his acoustic guitar style, ranging introspective views of the soul, to the mysteries that await us as we journey through life.

Richmond, Virginia born Ivins decided to employ producer Steve Barber on his latest effort; the same man who helped make his 2007 project 99 Cent Dreams a success. The result of Ivins’ EP forms a wonderfully settled batch of reflective, pensive songs. Ivins wispy voice ethereally soars and floats alongside his heartfelt acoustic guitar work “Love’s Like Snow” is a gentle opener that sets the tone for the rest of the songs, while “Riptides” has a little more “pluck” to the acoustic tide while keeping the same tone and atmosphere. “Late Night Drive” has even more jangle, highlighted by an amiable chorus and a well-crafted, lonely atmosphere. “Twilight” has a backing of percussion that lends itself to Ivins best vocal output on the EP, while the closer, “House Of Three,” contains the busiest string work of the five cuts.

Ivins song writing style and choice of lyrics lies somewhere between the vastness of worldly contemplation and simple self-reflectiion. There’s no doubt that he’s chosen themes that have been on his mind for a long time, especially “House Of Three,” which is based on the passing of his mother a year ago. On this and every other track, there’s a definite Ryan Adams sound that lives within his music, adding a beautiful aura and warm, sincere glow to his undecorated guitar/vocal delivery.

Simply put, Late Night Drive is a nice little package of songs from the heart. If Jim Ivins can carry this familiar, cozy partnership between his unadorned guitar playing and approachable vocal charm forward to a full length offering, he should have a pretty bright future as an artist.

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