Saturday, October 14, 2006
Just one magic trick
Collaborations - eh? Sometimes they're great. Sometimes (like for loads of hip-hop albums) they are just a futile exercise in sprinkling stardust over mediocre songs. However in the case of the new M. Ward album, it works a treat.
He's got some guests in on his latest album Post War. There are a whole heap of them, most I've never heard of, but of those I have, Neko Case, Jim 'My Morning Jacket' James and Howe Gelb are there to lend a hand with instruments and stuff. Not that M. really needs them, but they've contributed to what seems to me like an unusually celebratory album for the man called Ward.
Not that I'm massively familiar with the back catalogue, but I do have the last couple of albums. And when I caught him live a couple of years ago, it was a lovely, if melencholy experience, as we we regaled with his downbeat (actually there weren't any beats, it was solo acoustic), and slightly spooky music. Post War however, finds him almost rocking out. Sure, there are plenty of past occasions when he's upped the tempo a bit, but here he seems to have a new lease of life. In a funny kind of way it reminds me of the CD on the Johnny Cash Unearthed box set where he's backed by the Heartbreakers. The American series is full of quiet and beautiful songs, but you get the impression that Johnny, Tom Petty and the boys are just having enormous fun changing the pace to rock 'n' roll. It seems a bit the same with M. Ward on Post War. I've posted the best examples of the rockin' tunes, but the melancholy M. Ward is still there as good as, and maybe better than ever, with the likes of the sublime title track and Eyes on the Prize. If you've ever wanted to check out M. Ward, this is album definitely the place to start.
Download: M. Ward - Right in the Head
Download: M. Ward - Magic Trick
Buy Post War at Amazon