Album: M Ward, Hold Time (4AD)
Friday 13 February 2009
Each album sees Matt Ward edge closer to the mainstream, but also finds the guitarist cut further adrift from the sublime folk-blues picking that made his reputation.
Hold Time's songs are mostly buried in arrangements whose ambitions echo Spector and Wilson rather than Patton or Dylan. The constant is Ward's warm but ragged voice, the saving grace for several songs on which those ambitions disturb the equilibrium that was a crucial element of earlier albums. The two guitars, harmonium and handclaps of "For Beginners" make a charming opener, the first of several expressions of Christianity, but with "Never Had Nobody Like You", Ward plunges into a lolloping glam-rock boogie almost as ill-fitting as "To Save Me", which Ward and Grandaddy's Jason Lytle bury in a welter of hammered Beach Boys piano, castanets, tympani and nasty-sounding synth ostinatos. A cover of Buddy Holly's "Rave On" is devoid of raving instincts, while Don Gibson's "Oh Lonesome Me" is more sensitively rendered in a duet with Lucinda Williams. The best tracks are generally the simplest, particularly the swoonsome "Outro" and "Jailbird", a death song that gets lighter and more uplifting the closer the prisoner gets to the noose.
Pick of the album:'For Beginners', 'Jailbird', 'Outro'
Final Top Gear reviewTV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Isis propaganda video shows 25 Syrian soldiers executed by teenage militants in Palmyra
- 2 Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
- 3 Optical illusion turns blue demon into brunette
- 4 Right to die: Belgian doctors rule depressed 24-year-old woman has right to end her life
- 5 The biggest first date turnoff has been revealed
Top 20 films that make you feel good
This is surely the best way to watch Jaws
19 British bands signed to indie labels are getting government grants to help them make it big abroad
James Blunt was special guest on the highest-rating Top Gear episode ever
What if Nicolas Cage played every character in Game of Thrones?
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
Sickness and disability benefits could be reduced by £30 a week as part of £12bn welfare cuts