No, not the afro'd guy from Mars Volta, the other guitarist. You know, the dude from Sparta. So begins every conversation about Jim Ward, the talented-yet-overshadowed former At the Drive-In guitar player whose post-band career has been as functional as a one-legged scissor. Ward now goes it alone, releasing the double-disc mouthful Quiet in the Valley, On the Shores the End Begins & the Electric Six, which is a collection of three EPs (2007's Quiet, 2009's In the Valley, On the Shores, and this year's The End Begins) in addition to some amplified material that is thankfully not composed of Electric Six covers. As a solo artist Ward masters the subtle balance that made Sparta's Wiretap Scars work so well, and while the material here isn't paving any new ground, there is a familiar warmth to Ward's solo work. Enough to hopefully make him a household name, for real this time.
EZRA ACE CARAEFF