Awesome album cover.
I came to know and instantly like M. Ward when I heard “Poison Cup” and “To Go Home,” the first 2 tracks off his 2006 album ‘Post-War’. Incredible atmosphere, and of course the unique, light sandpaper vocal of Matt Ward.
Ward’s new album, ‘Hold Time’, is another foray into the cool, lo-fi, retro sound that marks his music. There’s something about his voice – something that instills a sense of another era, an AM radio vibe.
There’s a handful of songs that have me clicking the back button:
- “Never Had Nobody Like You” – Starting out with a Gary Glitter “Rock and Roll, Part 2” beat, and morphing into a “Spirit in the Sky” vibe, the tune features She & Him accomplice Zooey Deschanel.
- “To Save Me” features background vocals by former Grandaddy vocalist Jason Lytle. The tune sounds like a Brian Wilson outtake from the early 70’s (to these ears).
- “Stars of Leo” has one of the coolest transitions from guitar / vocals into full band I’ve ever heard (a minute and 30 seconds in).
- A cool cover of “Rave On”, also with Zooey Deschannel sharing vocals.
What isn’t clicking with me is a cover of Don Gibson’s “Oh Lonesome Me”, a duet with Lucinda Williams. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some Lucinda, but the combination of her and Matt’s voice doesn’t work for me. While Zooey and Matt’s voice go together like a good PB & J, Lucinda and Matt are more like peanut butter and tuna. Maybe it’s just me, I don’t know. But rather than getting into the emotion of a slow and searing ballad, I think more of how their voices contrast with one another.
All in all though, a fine album. NPR is still streaming the entire record, so go give it a listen.
Buy Hold Time.