M Ward: Post-War

Hailing from Portland, Oregon, singer-songwriter Matt Ward has upped the ante and the fidelity on his fifth album, even including a backing band. With Jim James, head of burgeoning US alt-indie outfit My Morning Jacket, featuring on the tracks, Ward has p

Hailing from Portland, Oregon, singer-songwriter Matt Ward has upped the ante and the fidelity on his fifth album, even including a backing band.

With Jim James, head of burgeoning US alt-indie outfit My Morning Jacket, featuring on the tracks, Ward has produced perhaps his brightest record to date, despite his deep, cracked-paving voice exploring worlds of regret.

It's hard to determine whether the cobwebs-and-creaks atmosphere comes from Ward's songwriting or the Oregon attic it was recorded in.

But the sense of an oak barrel aged clutch of songs doesn't overpower the surging strings on Poison Cup, or muffle the swinging smoothness of Rollercoaster.

An intriguing listen. 4/5