Sleepercar is a side project of At the Drive In alumnus and current Sparta mainman Jim Ward. The songs on West Texas were borne of Ward’s discovery of Gram Parsons and Old 97’s. That makes perfect sense when you consider the dusty ballads and roadhouse rock that make up most of the set. West Texas doesn’t chart any new territory for the alt.country genre. Fans of Ward’s influences or early Wilco will probably like what they hear. The sound is rich and full, the songs aren’t half bad, yet for some reason it all just doesn’t come together. For one thing, Ward’s thin, low-in-the-mix voice just doesn’t mesh with the more rustic material. “Sound the Alarm”, more indebted to ‘80s and ‘90s alt-rock, makes the most lasting impression. It’s a sign that, while Ward’s love of Americana is sincere, his true forte is probably with his day job.
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// Notes from the Road
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