Kim DiVine’s latest release This Time Around is a seven song offering, a little long to be called a proper EP but far too short for an album by modern standards, that re-establishes Divine as one of the most promising singer/songwriter talents working in the indie scene today. It also re-establishes her as one figure with genuine crossover potential to burst free of the indie bubble and achieve significant commercial and mainstream success. Let’s hope so. This is a songwriter and performer who can pull that off without a modicum of pandering for the crowd’s attention and her artistic talents alone are enough to ensnare a considerable following. The production highlights the vigorous and buoyant qualities in Divine’s songwriting, even when its tempo or approach is restrained, and gives her voice plenty of space to bewitch listeners with its beauty and strong lyrical content. There are some discernible past and modern influences in her music so woven into the fabric of her own writing and performative DNA that they come out as something uniquely her own and only surrounded with the vestiges of other’s sound.
“Maybe Tomorrow”, in a neat way, sort of sums up everything you need to know about Kim DiVine and the way she approaches her chosen art. Her darkest tunes, setting this one aside for a second, is never too dark thanks to something life-affirming that remains a part of her presentation and the practical point of view she takes towards regarding struggle and grief. It comes through in how she interacts with the music and her opportunities for emoting. Percussion catches your ear on the title song and it sets an early tone that the other instruments inventively respond to, but the vocal has the greatest success with striking a memorable juxtaposition with the lyric. “Broken Bird” has the same spartan eloquence that makes the other songs go while never forgetting to tie everything together with a melody that lingers in listener’s memories. “By Your Side” is a much more positive tune, in comparison, and the sensitivity she brings to bear never becomes so precious that it seems self-indulgent.
“Stay” is one of the more atmospheric tracks included on This Time Around while still embracing the aim of keeping the performances from being weighed down with excessive instrumentation. We are treated to a vocal showcase with DiVine’s performance on the song “Fancy Things”, though much of the song’s vocal firepower is derived from production effects. These effects are never too heavy handed, however, and add a lot. The closer “Where I Am You Are” is everything you want a closer to be. DiVine expands her scope here in a noticeable way and makes a concerted effort to reach for greater truths that the fine preceding songs lack. This Time Around is everything you’d want a comeback to be, as well – Kim DiVine certainly announces that she’s a force to be reckoned with on the basis of these seven tracks.