By Emma Cohen of Indie Band Guru
M.Ward recently premiered More Rain, his eighth solo album, to an eager audience.
Known largely for his work as half of “She and Him,” Ward’s talent is overflowing and each of his many projects is superbly great. It is worth noting that singing is not Ward’s only talent; he also a talented producer. I, however, believe that it is in his own music and vocals where Ward shines the brightest.
Ward’s most recent effort, More Rain is tranquil and happy. The album contains 12 new original tracks in which Ward’s talented vocals are almost constantly showcased.
M. Ward’s Talent Knows No Bounds
The first track is the sound of rainfall and a spattering of notes that could’ve been made by tines removed from music box. It worked like a lemon sorbet in a multiple-course meal, cleansing your palate for what’s to come. It’s simplicity is a testament to Ward’s artistry.
After “More Rain,” the album took off into a wonderland of sounds. The track “I’m Listening ( A Child’s Theme)” utilized a soft baritone vocal and very calming instrumentals. In fact, the guitar was melty, like butter on a hot day. The barely-there tang melted together with the “doo-wap” background vocals to make the song even more alluring. There are hints of an early 1950s love balled combined with the toned down essence of Jack Johnson that combine for an amazingly different sound. Not to be ignored, the moments of string instruments are the cherry on top, adding emphasis without overpowering Ward’s vocals.
One of the first singles from the album, “Girl From Conejo Valley” bridges the gap between the modern era and the past M. Ward draws much of his solo influence from. The verses, especially the first one, is simple — soft vocals and strummed guitars, reminiscent of early troubadour folk. The second verse adds, among other things, mandolin, which enhances the folk sound and makes it a little Appalachian. The choruses, though, maintain a big indie rock sound and even incorporate some electronic effects.
Something I found wonderful about Ward is that even his upbeat songs remained just as relaxing to the ears. This is best illustrated by “You’re So Good To Me,” where the tempered drumming and charming background vocals make the song obviously uplifting and romantic without overpowering the lead vocals. Also it should be noted that the lyrics to his particular track are charming as anything. It is impossible to be sad listening to this song, as Ward seems to have managed to implant happiness in his listeners.
Perhaps the most popular song on this album (my favorite, anyway), “Little Baby” has that same sway and smiling feel that the other tracks hold. I loved how the lyrics were at times the only focus of the music, really allowing M. Ward’s vocal talents to shine.
More Rain is so much more then 12 tracks, it is a deeply relaxing emotional experience, almost like getting a massage. The lyrics, instruments, and vocals roll over your body and make the sun shine a little brighter. This latest from M. Ward is a memorable collection of music, made to last.