Album: M Ward <!-- none onestar twostar threestar fourstar fivestar -->

Post-War, 4AD
Click to follow
The Independent Culture

Having built up a cult following over his four previous releases, Post-War may be the album that pushes Matt Ward into, if not exactly the mainstream, at least the wider realm. It's certainly his most outgoing record, with rollicking arrangements carrying along songs like "Magic Trick", "Right In the Head" and a cover of Daniel Johnston's "To Go Home" with a rumbustious charm that belies Ward's introspective nature. His dazzling blues-based finger-picking is less prominent, although there are beautiful flourishes of twangy vibrato guitar on tracks such as "Eyes On the Prize" and "Neptune's Net". Ward seems more concerned with the songs than the performances, wielding lines both sly ("She's got one magic trick/ Just one, and that's it/ She disappears") and spooky ("I lived with many ghosts when I was younger/ And I'll live with many ghosts when I am grown") in that sweet, smoky voice, the vocal equivalent of Dutch tobacco. Most evocative of all is "Today's Undertaking", in which God instructs him to "build a song forty heartbeats long, and sacrifice it for your love".

DOWNLOAD THIS: "Today's Undertaking", "Post-War", "Magic Trick", "Right In the Head"