I'm a total 'Johnny-Come-Lately' when it comes to the musical stylings of Matt Ward. It ain't for lack of trying, but i've just never really been able to get into his music enough to add any previous releases to regular rotation. Suffice to say, that I didn't dislike 'Transistor Radio' and 'Post-War'...in fact, I could totally get why my friends were drooling all over both albums.
Don't know what it is, but something really clicked w/ Ward's latest, 'Hold Time'. A perfect mix of Tom Waits-inspired Americana and Brian Wilson-esque California sun that would seem right at home nestled comfortably in Phil Spector's 'Wall of Sound'. The tempo ebbs and flows from tune to tune, but there is a fantastic continuity that makes it a wonderfully cohesive musical package.
'She & Him' collaborator, Zooey Deschanel, sounds great guesting on two cuts, a bouncy cover of the Sonny West nugget 'Rave On' and the almost flat-out rocking 'Never Had Nobody Like You' (one of my favorite tracks). Grandaddy's Jason Lytle doesn't sound at all out of place lending a little ELO-inspired jam on 'To Save Me', but i'm not as much of a fan of the weepy 'Oh, Lonesome Me' w/ Lucinda Williams. Other faves include the bluesy 'Epistemology' and breezy 'Shangri-La'.
It was released last week and getting a lot of good buzz in most of the blogs and music mags. You should have no issues tracking it down and, really, you should track it down. Get a taste in the AMBFAD jukebox and see if you can tell me i'm wrong.