M. Ward – A Wasteland Companion

January 01, 1970





Things must be going well for M. Ward of late. Perhaps
underground stardom has finally caught up with him. Or maybe his partner in his
sometime side duo She & Him, Zooey Deschanel, has opted
to share some of her upbeat effervescence.


Whatever the reason, his new effort, A Wasteland Companion, belies its foreboding title, largely
eschewing the hushed introspection that’s cast a pall over previous efforts in
favor of, well, a sound that’s at least marginally more hopeful. To be clear, nobody’s
ever going to mistake Mr. Ward for the life of the party – not in a musical
sense anyway – but with tracks like the telling “Clean Slate (for Alex & El
Goodo),” the happy-go-lucky “I Get Ideas” and the casual strum of the title
track and “Wild Goose,” Ward appears to have let down his guard and opened up
to optimism.


He has some able assistance in this venture; Howe Gelb,
Bright Eyes” Mike Mogis, Sonic Youth’s Steve Shelley and Ms. Deschanel are all
on hand to add their talents to the varied sonic set-ups. Of course, some
turbulence is bound to remain – the uneasy sprawl of “Watch the Show” and the
unusually edgy “Me and My Shadow” guarantee that – but by Ward standards it
seems that A Wasteland Companion is
his most effusive effort yet.


Slate (for Alex & El Goodo),” “I Get Ideas,” “Wild Goose” LEE ZIMMERMAN

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