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JM Stevens - Invisible Lines (Chicken Ranch)

12 February 2020

The leader of Austin’s long-running pop/rock outfit Moonlight Towers, James “JM” Stevens knows how to craft a good song. On his first solo album Invisible Lines, Stevens produces (and engineers and mixes) a tight collection of simple, melodic gems given a clean, earthy sound. Stripping down somewhere between late seventies power pop and mid-eighties heartland rock, the singer/songwriter/guitarist lays down one cool tune after another: the sprightly rock of “Runaway Stare” and the title track, the wistful folk pop of “Further I Run” and “Grows and Fades,” the country-tinged confectionry of “Anyway” and pop soul kiss of “Maybe I Love You.” There’s an almost overwhelming romanticism at work here, but the combination of Stevens’ winsome melodies, supple singing and supremely tasteful arrangements keep excess far at bay. Minus any artifice, pretense or desire to do anything but play good tunes well, Stevens modestly but confidently knocks Invisible Lines out of the park.