M. Ward : Wasteland Companion
From the man who’s collaborated with everyone from My Morning Jacket to Bright Eyes to actress Zooey Deschanel, it’s no surprise that folk luminary M. Ward’s latest offering is superb. Wasteland Companion hits all the right notes, whether they are happy and poppy, mellow and evocative or dark and bluesy.
Opener Clean Slate is typical M. Ward mellow acoustic strumming, but the following Primitive Girl is brighter and more consequential. Its fanciful melodies and dynamic lyrics contrast greatly with the dark, exotic Me and My Shadow that follows.
However, it’s I Get Ideas that’s one of the most humorous and poppiest songs on the album. It’s sugary sweet and stands out as one of the happiest songs I’ve heard in a long time, as does Sweetheart, the track that is most likely to be on a She & Him album.
The title track is entirely different though, demonstrating M. Wards versatility and creativity when it comes to songwriting. Its slow, twangy guitar gives it one helluva old-time blues feel, which is very welcome on an album of poppy folk. But, halfway through the song, it transforms into a transy, orchestral, lonesome melody of longing.
Luckily, the following songs are sweetly fun, particularly the closer, Pure Joy. It’s a tune that expresses the joy of love, sunshine and kisses. It sums up Wasteland Companion, really. M. Ward knows what’s important in life and shares it with the world.
BY KELLY THEOBALD
Best Track: Sweetheart
If You Like These, You'll Like This: SHE & HIM, THE FELICE BROTHERS
In a Word: Smooches