M. Ward – Hold Time

January 01, 1970





– record and concept – certainly
suits an old soul like M. Ward. A more solid and nuanced effort than 2006’s Post-War, Ward’s sixth full-length returns
to the blues-centric format that first marked him as an anachronism. It’s easily
Ward’s most lyrically sophisticated ode to love — and most overtly spiritual,


“Fisher of Men” is a Johnny Cash train shuffle infusing spirit
in song as Ward sings, “He put his name in my verses and his name in the hook.”
“Epistemology” examines Ward’s Catholic upbringing, while “Blake’s View” echoes
the poet’s Gnosticism: “Birth is just a chorus, death is just a verse/In the
great song of spring that the mockingbirds sing.” There are affecting duets
with She & Him collaborator Zooey Deschanel and ex-Grandaddy guru Jason
Lytle, though the plodding cover “Oh, Lonesome Me” with Lucinda Williams is the
record’s weak link. But Ward succeeds again in making the blues sound fresh
while giving his indie roots a timeless patina.


“To Save Me” “Rave On” JOHN SCHACHT


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