M Ward - A Wasteland Companion (3 stars)

Americana full of understated charm

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M Ward - A Wasteland Companion

(Bella Union)

M Ward is probably best known these days for being one half of She & Him, his collaboration with Zooey Deschanel, but long before that partnership he was dishing up dreamy slices of Americana like this. As the title hints at, this eighth album is evocative of the dusty back roads of rural America and all the booze-soaked heartbreak that implies.

Guitars shuffle and strum and Ward croons away, but you do crave for something to cut through the reverb and tumbleweed. When it does, like the piano-led ‘Crawl After You’ or the upbeat Phil Spectre whoops and handclaps of ‘Sweetheart’ (also notable for Deschanel’s presence), it hints at what can be achieved. Full of charm, but too understated.

M. Ward - Primitive Girl

M. Ward - The First Time I Ran Away

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