Jim Ward - Quiet (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Jim Ward

Quiet (2008)

Civil Defense League

Quiet marks the proper debut solo offering for Jim Ward after compilation appearances in 2004 and 2006. Ward's a somewhat important figure for modern post-hardcore considering his contributions: His current outfit is major label alt-rock outfit Sparta who, despite their more grandiose (think U2) sound of late, has offered a solid three albums sparked by interesting layers and, more recently, a hefty bout of Engine Down-style static via new member Keeley Davis; there's also, of course, his eight-year stint in the beloved and highly influential At the Drive-In. Instead of attempting to match the complex moods and boldness of those bands' numerous albums, Ward instead strips things down drastically on this quaint offering.

Marked more by folk and alt-country tinges, Ward usually employs only his voice and a layered acoustic guitar throughout Quiet. Sometimes he'll spice up the tracks with various contributions: Secret Life of Sparrows's Ray Wallace hums on the harmonica and adds background vocals to the rousing yet subtle opener "On My Way Back Home Again"; the illustrious Maura Davis sings serendipitous harmonies on "Take It Back"; and Chris Heinrich of Sleepercar (another Sparta side project of Ward's) strums a complimenting ukulele on "Coastlines," where bluesy "ohhhh"s bring to mind 19th century southern prisoner laborers.

Quiet certainly delivers what it promises, sometimes too accurately. Though other (quasi-)punks-turned-folk frontmen seem to be doing this via more dynamic and compelling means, Ward's recordings are a notable entry and not to be missed by steady followers of the trend or those curious to the musician's musings outside of epic discordance.

On My Way Back Home
Take It Back