M Ward; Post-War (EMI) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2006

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M Ward: Eyes on the Prize
M Ward; Post-War (EMI) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2006

Matt Ward could easily be a musicologist's research assignment: this album -- his fifth -- roams effortless from hushed balladry to guitar work which sounds like the Shadows on a surf-rock kick, and from alt.rock to something Paul Simon would be proud of.

And in many places he sounds like someone a few decades older -- and blacker -- than he is.

He has a gruff, world weary bluesy voice on some of the back porch ballads. But it is also his guitar work -- often like a distant Hawaiian steel guitar, other times an evocative soundscape -- which pulls this one into your attention.

This is going to sound silly, but imagine a black Ry Cooder who grew up on blues and surf music playing alt.folk with a pop sensibility, and who also writes soundtracks. And has got Leon Redbone albums at home.

Or something like that.

Whatever it is he does, you won't be bored by it -- and frequently enchanted in slightly puzzled way.

An album with real longevity.

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