Kim DiVine recorded her follow up to 2012’s EP Five, her last sustained release, shortly before the birth of her daughter. Events following the conclusion sessions and some time off prompted her to re-evaluate the EP as it then stood. She refashioned it into the album release we review today, a stunningly personal and deeply musical release including seven songs and a remix. The deaths of her mother, stepfather, and father-in-law piled on top of the paradigm shifting addition of a child into her life has heightened DiVine’s creative instincts and elicited a stronger performance from her as both a vocalist and writer. This Time Around has an ample amount of commercial potential as well thanks to DiVine’s seemingly effortless way with melodies and her ability to fully integrate her voice with those strengths. This Southern California based singer/songwriter is an able musician and proves, beyond any question, to be among the most promising songwriters working today based on This Time Around alone.
“Maybe Tomorrow” begins This Time Around with a pensive, patient air and the introduction of DiVine’s voice might surprise new listeners who don’t expect her to sound so girlish. One of the trademark elements of her performances and songwriting makes itself felt here as there’s a lot of breathing space in this song and a relatively skeletal arrangement that avoids unduly cluttering things up. The pace picks up almost imperceptibly as the track progresses and the low-key electronica in the background gives it consistent color. “This Time Around”, the title song, is constructed around some inventive drumming with an unusual and evocative sound coupled to some quicksilver melodic phrases from the piano. Keyboards come in and the dynamics shift for a rousing chorus, but atmospherics are the order of the day throughout much of this song and DiVine shows her talents for modulating her voice accordingly, “Broken Bird” has a nicely understated build and the mood stays artfully restrained throughout. This is obviously, based on the presence of a remix as a bonus track, one of the centerpieces of the release and DiVine puts her effort into this vocal with dramatic consequences.
The pace picks up a little for the song “By Your Side” and the insistent piano riff that she initially keys her vocals off of will catch your attention. There’s a Regina Spektor influence bubbling through this tune and it has a breezy, airy grace that makes it immensely likeable. There’s a nice acoustic guitar jangle that keeps “Fancy Things” pumping along and the vocals are great, often multi-tracked to memorable effect, and get the melody over quite strongly. She brings horns into the mix in a surprise for listeners. The marquee number on This Time Around, “Where I Am You Are”, is a passionate ballad that never strains to make an impact on listeners despite its stripped back sound. It’s easily the most committed singing performance she brings to the table on This Time Around and assures Kim DiVine’s return to the music world ends on a high note.