Albums to watch

A Wasteland Companion

M. Ward

A Wasteland Companion

Album number seven from the Californian indie/folk singer-songwriter and guitarist

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Bella Union
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US Release date
  1. 8.3 |   A.V. Club

    An album that feels a little more off-the-cuff than anything Ward has done over the last five years
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  2. 8.0 |   Scotland on Sunday

    Flavoured with cowpunk, rockabilly, Greenwich Village coffee house folk, and the merest hint of CBGB’s raw New Wave
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  3. 8.0 |   The Scotsman

    Like his contemporaries Sufjan Stevens and Devendra Banhart, he makes it sound easy, but it takes a lot of talent to charm this casually
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  4. 8.0 |   Consequence Of Sound

    Finds the melancholic Ward in fine form, and with this effort he only further establishes his legacy as one of our under-appreciated greats
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  5. 8.0 |   Drowned In Sound

    The work of a man who’s learnt to create more mystique by giving away little fragments of himself through the filter of an idealised story
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  6. 8.0 |   The Guardian

    Ward's partner in She & Him, Zooey Deschanel, duets on Sweetheart, but Ward's voice, a little cracked, but also easy and beckoning, is the sweeter
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  7. 8.0 |   The Independent

    Seeks to shine a little comforting light into the gloom, mingling contemplative folk-blues with occasional forays into 1940s and 1950s modes
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  8. 8.0 |   The Irish Times

    A beautifully well-rounded record by a talented, versatile musician
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  9. 8.0 |   Uncut

    Go past the tone of his voice, inhale the poetry, and you'll taste a sweeter, less mordant Leonard Cohen
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  10. 8.0 |   Q

    The real wonder here is to be found when he drops a gear into hushed beauty and sun-dappled loveliness. Print edition only

  11. 8.0 |   Mojo

    Never letting the atmosphere decelerate as he switches between prom-night pop, country melancholy and dark-side rock'n'roll. Print edition only

  12. 8.0 |   Blurt

    Belies its foreboding title, largely eschewing the hushed introspection that's cast a pall over previous efforts in favor of, well, a sound that's at least marginally more hopeful
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  13. 8.0 |   Rave Magazine

    Pushes his sound into new and frequently rewarding territory
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  14. 7.5 |   Pretty Much Amazing

    It may not set the world on fire but it will certainly please those who already love him
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  15. 7.0 |   NME

    In the album’s quieter segments he proves that his deft touch remains
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  16. 7.0 |   Rolling Stone

    His most vivid and varied yet
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  17. 7.0 |   Under The Radar

    After years of sharing the stage with Deschanel, it's a true revelation to hear M. Ward take back the full spotlight
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  18. 7.0 |   The Line Of Best Fit

    The record is steeped in Ward’s gravelly vocal warmth; the type of voice one would expect to find on dusty vinyl
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  19. 7.0 |   PopMatters

    Ward’s smoky, beguiling voice and ebb-and-flow guitar lines create the sense that every song has a secret to guard, and that it’s up to the listener to uncover it
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  20. 6.9 |   Beats Per Minute

    For all its gorgeous expansiveness and new perspectives, it never comes together to be incisive or essential
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  21. 6.3 |   Pitchfork

    As always, these new songs sound immaculate. Divorced from all sense of the English language, listening to M. Ward is nowadays perhaps more deeply pleasurable than it ever has been
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  22. 6.0 |   The Fly

    As engaging as an album of mood swings can be
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  23. 6.0 |   BBC

    The sequencing seems illogical on first listen, but someone as dab-handed as Ward surely intended this, and the rollercoaster becomes easier to digest with each listen
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  24. 6.0 |   DIY

    Album highlight 'Crawl After You' is, genuinely, stunning. The burned-out melancholia of the lyric pushes us to breaking point, and then the strings – my God those strings – kick in and it's all over, everything is forgiven, he's got a hold on our hearts again
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  25. 6.0 |   Spin

    Tasteful, tuneful, highly whimsical Americana (Zooey drops by) wherein nothing much ever feels at stake
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  26. 6.0 |   The Observer

    Too much filler towards the end of the album detracts slightly, but this is another solid set
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  27. 6.0 |   Independent on Sunday

    All squeaky fingers on fretboards, sexy reverb timbres on vocals, and collaborations with the likes of PJ Harvey sidekick John Parish and Sonic Youth's Steve Shelle
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  28. 6.0 |   Paste Magazine

    What we’re getting here is a bit like the album’s cover image, which shows a silhouette of Ward’s outline against the moon: It’s unmistakably him, but all we see is his shadow
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  29. 5.0 |   Bowlegs

    The fact that the best two songs on the album, Sweetheart and I Get Ideas, are covers tells you everything you need to know about A Wasteland Companion
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  30. 5.0 |   No Ripcord

    While quite a bit of time is wasted on what seems like a grab at the She & Him appeal, the second half of the album hints at and occasionally showcases Ward's charmingly reserved introspection and muses
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M. Ward: A Wasteland Companion

  • Download full album for just £5.00
  • 1. Clean Slate £0.99
  • 2. Primitive Girl £0.99
  • 3. Me And My Shadow £0.99
  • 4. Sweetheart £0.99
  • 5. I Get Ideas £0.99
  • 6. The First Time I Ran Away £0.99
  • 7. A Wasteland Companion £0.99
  • 8. Watch The Show £0.99
  • 9. There's A Key £0.99
  • 10. Crawl After You £0.99
  • 11. Wild Goose £0.99
  • 12. Pure Joy £0.99
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