Thursday, 12 February 2009

M.Ward - Hold Time (4AD 2009)

Noel Gallagher-approved M.Ward has been making a quiet noise for a hot minute. His dalliances with indie-actress Zooey Deschanel produced the euphorically retro She & Him. His solo albums have always skirted best-of yearly lists, and with 'Hold Time', he might finally cross over from respected to known journeyman. His finger-plucking dalliances with acoustic guitar and his gravelly world-weary voice all compose a beautiful sound here. Opener 'For Beginners' in its acoustic glory, just man and axe, taunts us with its misdirection as it descends into the boogie-woogie love song electric squelch of 'Never Had Nobody Like You.' With Buddy Holly cover 'Rave On' and the ever poignant 'Fisher of Men' Ward provides a beguiling versatility to his sound, a real showman headily hitting the top of his craft. Former Grandaddy impressario Jason Lyttle pops up to lend a musical hand and Lucinda Williams adds her weighty vocals as well as Deschanel herself, helping out where help is needed. The homespun aesthetic and the remoteness of the context, the lyrical conceits all adds a superior weighty tone to a beautiful album.


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