Album review : Gashouse Radio

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Kim DiVine – This Time Around 



Kim DiVine first made her presence felt in the music world during the early years of the 21st century and, soon after debuting, chose to make her way to the Los Angeles area, via an initial stint in San Diego, and immersed herself in the Southern California music scene. She released her first full length album, Square One, shortly after her arrival there and followed that in 2012 with an EP entitled Five. A number of her songs have been picked up for soundtrack placement; “Perfect Kind of Love” has been featured in an assortment of television series, among others, and her work has earned important exposure via participation in a handful of songwriting competition. Her new EP This Time Around has been pending for some time, but life rescheduled it for her. The last few years have been a time of enormous personal changes in DiVine’s life with the birth of a daughter and the following deaths of her mother, stepfather, and father-in-law. She re-recorded an initial version of this EP, but felt unsatisfied by it in light of the changes she’s endured, among other reasons, and resolved to use the opportunity to find healing through her art. This Time Around is the eight song long result. 

Her songwriting definitely falls within the boundaries of folk or the singer/songwriter style. She favors conventional instrumentation that she uses in imaginative ways and you don’t hear any songs on This Time Around with obvious reference points to influential material. “Maybe Tomorrow” begins things on a slightly commercial note. The song deserves this description thanks to its obvious melodic strengths and how DiVine’s sharp songwriting structures the song to gradually gain more and more intensity. DiVine’s vocals possess a youthful tint warm with empathy and sensitivity. The title song has interesting percussion, scattershot and allowing plenty of space in the composition, and DiVine fills many of those spaces with her breathy atmospherics and deceptive range. She really captures a yearning quality and there’s a wide emotional modulation that comes with her singing on this track sure to win over many listeners. 

There’s a compositional approach taken with the instruments on “Broken Bird” rather than any one player getting a moment in the spotlight. The tastefulness of DiVine’s songwriting and arrangements are extraordinary in her style of music – her clear penchant for crafting songs with mainstream viability isn’t normally accompanied by a high degree of artistic discernment. A brief swell of keyboards opens “Stay”, but it soon transitions into a delectable and light-footed pop gem with a strong chorus and lilting production qualities. “Where I Am You Are” is the proper close to This Time Around and it’s easily the album’s most thoughtful and expansive musical moment. It’s driven primarily by the trifecta of DiVine’s voice, piano, and steady percussion and has the earmarks of a climatic number from its first minute to last. This Time Around is an artfully impressive offering from first to last and really makes one realize the extent of DiVine’s talents without defining any limit she can or will not pass.  


Mike Yoder