Wednesday, January 14, 2009

M. Ward sets to release Hold Time

No, I'm not a hypocrite. I love M. Ward. I really do. Sure, his albums have been a bit flippy-floppy and my word is still as strong as oak in saying that his latest album with Zoey was an 'alright' album. It was not deserving of 2008's Album of The Year as Paste decided. So what's the hub-bub today about Portland's Matt Ward? His (solo) new album is starting to make a few ripples around the web and landing in some mailboxes. And worry not, if you DID fall head over heels for She & Him in 2008, Ward's new album features Ms. She (Zooey Deschanel), along with other quick cameos from Lucinda Williams and Rachel Blumberg (The Decemberists).

M. Ward will be releasing Hold Time from Merge Records, available on February 17th. I hate sitting on the fence about albums and how to describe them...(But)M. Ward's new release is nearly typical. Yes, nearly. Although Ward is known for his down-tempo, airy and eery dust-clogged voice, some songs buried in the album have instances of silver lining. The lead track on Hold Time, "For Beginners" has a steady quick strumming rhythm and country porch-esque guitar picking. You'd almost think it was upbeat if it weren't for Ward's voice reminding the song to cool down. Even the new single, "Never Had Nobobdy Like You" features some edgier backing with a beginning that's a damn replica of Steely Dan's "Reeling In the Years." It almost picks up until M. Ward overshadows it with the slyness we've grown to love and expect. What's the cause of this "new" sound? Not fully sure, but I'm not afraid to point my finger and congratulate Ward for hiring Mike Mogis to produce this album. FYI, Nebraskan Mike Mogis is the multi-instrumentalist/producer/engineer behind the successes such as Bright Eyes, The Faint, Rilo Kiley, Jenny Lewis and Tilly and The Wall, and now M. Ward.

NPR allows you to hear the full album including my favorite, "For Beginners," here.

Hold Time Track Listing
1. For Beginners
2. Never Had Nobody Like You
3. Jailbird
4. Hold Time
5. Rave On
6. To Save Me
7. One Hundred Million Years
8. Stars Of Leo
9. Fisher Of Men
10. Oh Lonesome Me
11. Epistemology
12. Blake's View
13. Shangri-La
14. Outro

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