M. Ward

M. Ward

Saturday, 04 November 2006

M. Ward has always made a neat trick out of fusing certain varieties of American music—from elegiac Louis Armstrong riverboat rags to wistful Beach Boys blues—into something uniquely, compellingly his own. On Post-War, his latest album for Merge Records, Ward once again succeeds in conjuring a burnished nostalgia while remaining rooted firmly in the here-and-now. Whereas his earlier efforts have been marked by a creeping hour-before-dawn vibe, Post-War sounds open and happy, the product of a group of friends drinking Genesee 12 Horse Ale in a dusty attic. Ward’s secret weapon has always been his voice, which works as both a stubbly growl and a raspy roar, and he puts it to good use on “Chinese Translation,” in which he plays both seeker and sage, asking, “What does one do with the pieces of a broken heart? And how does a man like me remain in the light?” Post-War is a thinking man’s day walk through the dimming, October country of the soul, and comes highly recommended to Fahey freaks, steam-train aficionados and fans of Joseph Mitchell’s long gone New York City.

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