This stalwart musician has a life steeped in music. Having enjoyed some level of success with previous bands, if this album is anything to go by, he may well be building on that as he seeks to pursue a solo career. Stevens’ mode of expression seems to be to keep his options open with a range of styles, or maybe I should say ‘Invisible Lines’.
The title track is a rocky, anthemic – think Tom Petty style – number, whereas the closing track ‘Grows & Fades’ is a gentle, country song which could have been from an Elvis album. Stevens openly proclaims that ‘Love Me Tender’ was the first record he could remember hearing. It shows.
Every song has something about it on this album. The opener, ‘Runaway Stare’ has a great beat and energy to it. ‘Naomi’s Arms’ reminds me of the much-missed sadly disbanded country-rock band, The Storys. Maybe it will be JM Stevens who fills that gap for me. By a slight but not massive contrast, ‘Old Camera’ is beautifully reminiscent of Jack Savoretti. Melodic and romantic. ‘Nothing to See Here’ is bright, musically established, has fabulous harmonies and is very ’70s.
I’m making a lot of comparisons here, and that is quite deliberate. The message I want to convey is this is a great, very listenable album not least because it has a warm familiarity to it without being copyist or plagiaristic.
Stevens’ lines are at least blurred if not totally invisible.
He is experienced and adept at mixing and engineering, and he has done a great job with this live album. It is handsomely rich with engaging songs and musicality. I only hope he manages to emulate this full sound at live shows. Sadly, I missed his recent UK tour. Hopefully next time.