The Jim Ivins Band – The Jim Ivins Band EP
Power pop is still living in Richmond and you have no idea how happy that makes me. Don’t get me wrong; Richmond has a ton of great punk, funk, blues, and R&B acts. But a power pop band? Say what you want about power pop (or acoustic-driven pop rock), but who really has never been caught embarrassingly jamming out to Jimmy Eat World’s “The Middle.” Who hasn’t been seen pulling out the air guitar to Matthew Sweet’s “Girlfriend?” Or swaying your head side-to-side like a fool to Weezer’s “Buddy Holly?” And really, who hasn’t been caught doing all this and more to OK Go’s “Here It Goes Again?” Yep. That’s what I thought.
As I turned on the first track off of The Jim Ivins Band, the self-titled EP from the Richmond natives, the song instantly took me back to that place. “Fall Flat” features that same driving melody that makes it instantly recognizable and lets you know its time to get those air drum & guitar skills sharpened. Just like its predecessors, it features a memorable, catch, & great melody, rhythm, bridge, chorus, et cetera. As he belts out “are we this or are we that” in the chorus, you can see the song fitting well in an iTunes Genius Mix based off of “The Middle.” Now, don’t get me wrong; it’s not an iconic song by any means, but this is the exact song I can picture coming on the radio four times a day in the summertime while still having people going nuts over it. Hell, it’s over sixteen years and people still do that for “Buddy Holly.” And this is exactly why I’m so excited to find power pop in Richmond in the form of The Jim Ivins Band.
Besides, who really doesn’t like that archetypal hang-out music? Well, pretentious snobs, but we all know they weren’t invited anyway to hang-out in your friend’s basement. But that type of music seems to be right up JIB’s alley. The self-titled EP features five songs all in the same vein. Unlike lesser bands though, the songs don’t seem to blend together leaving you with a case of enjoyment, but no clue on which song was which. The five songs here seem to be linked by topics pertaining to the end or the latter stages of relationships, but they each showcase a different side of it. Whether it is by a hard guitar riff, gentle acoustic strum, Darin-style crooning, or epiphanal chanting, you know exactly what song it is and what type of jamming you’re going to be doing. While “Fall Flat” has to be my favorite of the short release, the other songs definitely steer clear away from that phrase. “Back To Reality” features that runaway-train rhythm that takes the listener away from where the song sings about. “The Chance” becomes that fast-paced lyrical song that you’ll quietly mumble the words to before belting out that coherent chorus as loud as possible. The band’s ballad “Ever Day’s Another Goodbye” slows it down yet keeps the EP moving quickly with interesting rhythms & entrancing lyrics. And they close up shop on another strong track “How To Hold On” which comes on slow, but ends up being the song you love having stuck in your head.
And as the closing track chants “even though you’re gone, want to know you’re not leaving,” my feelings are almost echoed. I have to hope for more as the EP comes to close. Another EP, some new song here or there, or hopefully a full length album; who knows? But like with any good EP before a major release, the band has carved a style for themselves that stands out and definitely has me looking forward to much more from them. What more can you ask from eighteen minutes of music?