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Post War

4.6 out of 5 stars 43 customer reviews

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Audio CD, August 29, 2006
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The fifth M. Ward album and his most absorbing yet. Its songs unravel their world-wearied tales of life, love, and human kindness with an innate and special grace, helped in part by the very talented friends who join him on this record, such as Neko Case and Mike Mogis, as well as old "Monsters Of Folk" touring buddy Jim James (My Morning Jacket). Look for him on tour this fall.

Amazon.com

An enviable multitasker, M. Ward deftly charts the varied dusty soundscapes of Americana. Since 2005, he's toured with the White Stripes, coproduced the debut from Rilo Kiley's Jenny Lewis, compiled a John Fahey tribute, and relocated from Oregon to New Hampshire--and that's just to start. Somehow, he found time to knock out Post-War, his first full-band effort. Since 1999's haunting solo debut, Duet for Guitars #2, every Ward effort has been a departure from the one before. While 2004's Transistor Radio was inspired by the radio days of yore, it's clear in Post-War that Ward has modern times on his mind. Opening with an upbeat trio of songs, Ward launches across diverse musical territory before concluding with the slow blues of "Afterword/Rag." A driving rendition of Daniel Johnston's "To Go Home," featuring Neko Case, is an album highlight. Adding to Ward’s cast of indie-rock luminaries, Jim James (My Morning Jacket)--who appeared on Transistor Radio--joins in on a couple of originals, the rollicking "Chinese Translation" and gospel hoedown "Magic Trick," which begins and ends with a burst of canned applause. --Kathleen C. Fennessy
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 29, 2006)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Merge Records
  • ASIN: B000GGSMDA
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #70,406 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I heard my father say that about his old music once, and I never thought I would ever feel the same way about music of my generation, but Matt Ward's music definitely comes from another, better place. It's his voice that will make you take notice first, a gravelly but sweet whisper that recalls Tom Waits or a young Greg Brown. His virtuosic but highly expressive guitar picking will appeal to folkies, hippies and guitar nerds. But his songs, it must be said, are timeless, having the instant feel of Tin Pan Alley standards or hillbilly classics of another age, yet sounding fresh and inspired. His latest is perhaps his most varied-sounding record--check out the great string section on the opening "Poison Cup," or the garage-surf instrumental "Neptune's Net"--but it still has the otherworldly, shimmering beauty of his already classic "End of Amnesia" and is just as accessible as the indie-rific "Transfiguration of Vincent." The songs and the arrangements are slightly more lively and fleshed-out--as opposed to the preponderance of "ditties" that filled out last year's slightly-disappointing-but-still-pretty-darn-good "Transistor Radio." Again, he shows his gift for interpreting the works of other talented songwriters with a rousing cover of Daniel Johnston's "To Go Home," but standout original tracks like "Chinese Translation" and the mesmerizing title track will make this the album that pushes him into the spotlight as one of the most inspiring songwriters and musicians around. Fabulous.
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Format: Audio CD
I happened to catch M. Ward in a live performance on "Letterman," and rushed out the very next day to buy the CD. I think the tune he performed was "Chinese Translation," which is among the many standouts on this excellent disc. I would rank this as the second-best release of the year so far - right beneath Neko Case's "Fox Confessor Brings the Flood" (and it's no surprise that Ms. Case herself makes a cameo appearance here - talent tends to attract talent). Trying to place this disc into a genre is a bit difficult, but I sort of like the "lo-fi indie folk" term used by another reviewer. But this is not coffee-house snooze music by any stretch of the imagination. On tunes like "Magic Trick" you can hear echoes of the loose, raucous sound that used to be the trademark of King Bruce and the E Street-ers themselves. Genre almost doesn't matter, though, with music this good. Buy it, slip it into your car stereo and take a long drive - preferably out in the country. I guarantee you'll keep it in your car player for weeks, if not months.
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I just saw M. Ward last night in San Diego -- what a show! Every song was beautifully rendered, particularly the great songs from Post-War (the newest album). This album is rootsy -- reaching back into the best of the Blues, early jazz, country, folk -- and yet also modern in the sense of being "lo-fi" and "alt-rock" yet not so self-conscious as other practitioners of those "genres" of music. Buy this album and enjoy the mostly mellow, well-thought out tones and lyrics. And see him live with his talented backing band if you ever get the chance!
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Just so surprisingly good I ended up with the whole M Ward collection, of which "Post-War" is the most interesting and consistent (which means that if he's getting better each time, eventually he will put out the perfect record and the world can end in peace). Pure sentiment on songs like "Requiem" end up rocking your socks off. "Chinese Translation" will make you smile for about two hours after.

This is a record from a talent who puts in the hard work of writing and polishing good songs. You'll admire it, you'll enjoy it, you'll annoy all your friends with endless emails until they buy it. Don't make me do that to you. Spend the 13 bucks and thank me later.

FYI. I saw M Ward live. He puts on a good, loose show. If he comes to your neighborhood you should drop in.
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By Linda in NC on February 4, 2014
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I seem to write a lot of reviews for M. Ward. I love this guys style so much and find his music to always set the right mood.
My taste has changed so over the years, I want music that isn't jarring, smutty crap. I want thought provoking lyrics, good guitar playing and original style. This guy is all that and more. Some songs and as peaceful as a lullaby, others get you moving, all of it fun to sing along to. Good stuff!
Warning- if you haven't heard much of his work, be prepared to be a bit stunned. Give him 2 or 3 good listens and then decide. The first album of his that I bought (Wasteland Companion ) Left me unconvinced that I liked it. But, listened again and felt it was pure genius! I must have 6 of his as well as "Monsters of Folk" as well as a few "She and Him". Its his solo titles I love the best though all are great. Try him out and I so hope you like him.
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I first discovered M. Ward through "Chinese Translations" from this album. I loved (and still love) the recursive narrative structure of the song, and the music was elegantly inventive. But for some reason, I didn't give the rest of the album much of a chance at first. But I liked CT so much that I kept listening to it. Later, I bought a She & Him album, not knowing that he was the "Him". His guitar work was so interesting and his voice so arresting, that I went back and popped Post-War back in the CD player. This time, it hit me at just the right place, and I have not been able to stop listening to M. Ward since. Now when a new album comes out, I revisit all my M. Ward music, but this is the one that I come back to with the most excitement over and over. Well written songs, a smokey friendly voice, great guitar work, and an off kilter point of view all make this music worth listening to and inviting into your head. This guy is the real deal.
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