Visitor Jim, Visitor Jim Fortune Records

Paul Wong
Courtesy of Knopf

Fortune Records didn”t get the memo instead of sending their A&R people out to sign the next Sum 182 or Limpin” Park, they signed R.E.M. wannabes Visitor Jim. This band is a “hot” find 15 years ago. I almost didn”t have to listen to this record in order to review it. How could I have done this, you ask? Well, it comes in a cheap, digipack-style case (you know, those crappy cardboard sleeves that major bands put out a CD in so as to look “indie” and hip (read: Save money), and that little bands put out CDs in so as to well, save money). Lesser-known bands employing digipacks mean one of two things: Either the label has no money, or it has no faith in the album”s ability to actually sell. In this case, I think both of these things are true. Visitor Jim”s frontman, Jim Greer, has previously made three solo albums and a few miscellaneous band/side project albums for Fortune Records, but his appeal and selling power have yet to stretch beyond his family and closest friends. Let”s say that he”s not exactly a “unit shifter.”

Despite all of this, I have to give Jim and his band mates James Bowser and Jimmy Leslie some credit. This album has its moments. “Place of My Own” and “I”ll Be Gone” prove that Greer studied under Brian Wilson and the Byrds at the Pop Songwriting Institute, but sadly he never utilizes that tutelage to produce anything better than the most mediocre of Fountains of Wayne songs. The “harder” rockers on the album such as “Devil Trouble” and “Never Get Home” are just hard enough to keep this record out of your mom”s CD collection, but not good enough to garner a second listen.

If you still think that you want this album, I recommend that you buy its older, wiser cousin called Document.

Grade: C-

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