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Design By Humans
Published On: Sun, Apr 22nd, 2012

M. Ward: A Wasteland Companion

M. Ward
A Wasteland Companion
(Merge Records)

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Smooth, easy melodies surround the distinct, raspy texture of M. Ward’s vocals from the start of his new album, A Wasteland Companion. Although the tone and tempo of the songs change from track to track, the songs all manage to find that wonderful harmony, which puts the listener at ease. The album begins with a gorgeous short song, “Clean Slate,” which illustrates what Ward does best in pairing soft, soothing guitar rhythms along with lyrics that are both beautifully sung and worded.  This is followed up with a bright, upbeat track, “Primitive Girl,” which makes his She & Him partner Zooey Deschanel comes to mind because much of the album seems like a love letter to someone and context implies it might be his partner who joins him on “Sweetheart” and “I Get Ideas.”  ”The First Time I Ran Away” is another great track as well as the raw title track with it’s beautiful instrumental interlude, which leads into the equally terrific “Watch the Show.”  The album features a number of guests like his Monsters Of Folk mate Mike Mogis, Sonic Youth’s Steve Shelley, Dr. Dog’s Tobey Leaman, and Devotchka’s Tom Hagerman and it might very well be Ward’s finest this far.

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M. Ward: A Wasteland Companion