Civil Defense League
Jim Ward is one versatile man. He’s done the post-hardcore thing (At the Drive-In), the emo-friendly indie thing (Sparta), and now he has his sights set on Americana roots rock.
Sleepercar became an idea in the back of Ward’s mind during At the Drive-In’s final tour, but it’s only now coming to fruition. West Texas explores the plains long dominated by the likes of Tom Petty and Wilco. The down home flavored, campfire-ready tunes that Ward offers up here are some of his strongest. “Fences Down,” with its weeping guitar and Ward’s broken-hearted vocals, aches like a Cormac McCarthy novel. It’s as perfect of a song as anyone with an acoustic guitar could hope to write.
Like many of his rock contemporaries who have embarked on solo side projects, Ward seems to be yearning for a style of music that is more intimate and pure. Though he’s not alone in the studio or on the stage, this album has the personal touch of a solo release.
It’s a perfect album for a hot, summer evening — especially if you live in Texas.