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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE most criminally underrated album of 2003, 18 Mar 2004
By 
G. J. Weaver "elweaverino" (Chester, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Transfiguration Of Vincent (Audio CD)
It would be very difficult to overstate how superb this record is. Ward has managed to do what so many of his peers have tried and failed to do; it's an album which is endlessly catchy without being tiresome, spookily atmospheric without being impenetrable. The most obvious reference point is "Bone Machine" era Tom Waits, but Ward's music is less reliant on experimental percussion. I have read some music critics dismiss M. Ward as a Waits copyist, while the same critics have gone into raptures as The Thrills/Kings of Leon/Franz Ferdinand/whoever rip off all and sundry from recent musical history. Yes, Tom Waits seems to be an influence on the album, but Ward has brought his own mighty talent to the record, and the album will stand up to any in Waits back catalogue, and I speak as a Tom Waits fan.
Jason Lytle of Grandaddy contributes to the record, and although it sounds very little like that great band, Grandaddy's DIY aesthetic is clearly on display. One song might sound like it has been hastily sung into a scratchy tape recorder in a bedroom, the next like it was recorded in an abandoned church on an ice cold winter's night.
Every song is a charm. Up there with "Feast of Wire" by Calexico and "Cast of Thousands" by Elbow as albums of the year. Please do not hesitate to buy this record.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This man should sell more copy than the bible, 4 Nov 2005
This review is from: Transfiguration Of Vincent (Audio CD)
First time reviewer, and I realise that in general people are more likely to review albums which they like - hence all the 5 stars on this site- often giving an overly distorted representation. But hey ho I feel utterly compelled to enthuse about this album in print anyway.
Needless to say it is fantastic. It immediately breached my top 10 albums ever (come on you have a hypothetical top 10 right). Straight in amongst Dylans Blood on the tracks and Blonde on Blonde, Van Morrisons Veedon Fleece, Tom Waits Nighthawks at the Diner, Marlena Shaw's Spice of Life, Blackalicous Nia etc etc (NB:I am not trying to compare any of the above to "Transfiguration")
The album is almost perfect in everyway. The change's in tempo are subtle and compelling. His voice is fantastic and has great range, the guitar playing is delectable throughout and the production effortless.
In terms of the actual songs "Vincent O Brien" rocks, with a great chorus and delicate piano lick, "Sad, sad song" is Tom Waitsesque but more accessible then for instance Bone Machine, "Undertaker" is a delicate folk song with a beautiful falsetto, "Outta my Head" is simply beautiful melody backed with some inventive effects, "Involuntary" is in the vein of "Undertaker" but even more beautiful, "Helicopter" would go down brilliantly with anyone who likes Bright Eyes, because my freinds you will have found a new hero. My personal favourite at the moment is "Poor Boy, Minor Key" which starts with a Billie Holiday esque Piano line before building in to a fantastic blues number. And theres more the rest of the album is fantastic as well. If you doubt any of what I am saying I suggest you sample a couple of tracks on line before buying.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bewitching and varied Americana from Howe Gelb’s protege….., 28 May 2003
This review is from: Transfiguration Of Vincent (Audio CD)
M. Ward is certainly a talented guy, this was evident from 2001’s incredible opus “End of Amnesia” where he provided some deft guitar mastery, razored honey vocals and lest we forget some absolutely fantastic songs. Fortunately that was not the end to it all as is evident from this quite splendid album that can loosely be termed Americana. I say loosely because Ward delves into a number of styles across the piece, sometimes venturing into instrumental “Paris, Texas” (Ry Cooder) fields before rolling back into blues, folk, country and back again.
The melodies within the album maintain the same dreamy stature of his previous efforts whilst still moving forward to encompass slightly more upbeat moods and tempos. Ward’s vocal style can be found somewhere between Tom Waits and Tim Buckley – maintaining the gruffness of the former whilst still being capable of slipping into falsetto with the same skill as the latter. It can take some getting used to but then so do many of the greats.
Following the gentle acoustic instrumental of “Transfiguration #1” is “Vincent O’Brien”, a song which veers dangerously close to rock territory with its Jerry Lee Lewis piano playing and bombastic chorus. From there though Ward takes us into more familiar territory with the bluesy “Sad, Sad Song” and “Poor Boy, Minor Key” where he is assisted by Howe Gelb of Giant Sand. It is interesting that Gelb chooses to assist Ward as they seem to be heading in the same musical direction in their separate projects – simple narratives, stellar guitar-work and a variation in styles that never allows the listener to get bored.
To list all of the songs and their relative merits would take too much space but needless to say the album rarely fumbles, it is consistently great all the way through with a possible highlight being the most bizarre cover of Bowie’s “Let’s Dance” you are ever likely to hear. Ward is an excellent talent and though I would probably advice that “End of Amnesia” is a better place to start than this, there is little doubt that he has repeated the trick with this one. A superb effort and well worth a purchase.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Every day brings a new favourite song, 14 May 2003
This review is from: Transfiguration Of Vincent (Audio CD)
Today it's the haunting "Undertaker". Yesterday it was the timelessly catchy "Fool Says". The whole album is achingly beautiful. Sometimes the music recalls Nick Drake or Tom Waits or even Grandaddy. It's like Gomez without the pretensiousness. Even the instrumental tracks are genius. The cover of Lets Dance will never let me listen to the Bowie original with the same ears again. Seriously. I don't know what else to say but "Buy it. It's georgeous". It's been my preference out of my (fairly large) CD collection for almost a month now.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A little gem, but keep it to youselves, 21 Sep 2003
By 
Nick (York, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Transfiguration Of Vincent (Audio CD)
Thanks to my love of Clem Snide, Ron Sexsmith, Terry Allen, Loudon Wainwright, The Sadies, Neko Case and many others I received a suggestion from good old Amazon that I might like to consider M. Ward. Occasionally these suggestions are way off the mark. (For example: dull Nickel Creek and overindulgent Sigur Ros - check out my much reviled review of SR's pretentious untitiled 'brackets' album to see what I feel about them). But this time, as on so many happy occasions, the recommendation was inspired.
Imagine a kind of Americana Nick Cave-by-way-of Donovan, Cale and Reed and you will get the feel. An intriguing lyrical mixture of world-weary optimism, offbeat relationships and well-disguised love songs. Soft-edged vocals, sometimes delivered with an almost langurous confidence brought to mind the understated brilliance of, say, Belle & Sebastian, and shades of Nick Drake too. But take away those comparisons and you are left with a joyously original talent.
The musicianship is exceptional too, as piano and guitar combine with delirious effect throughout - punctuated by some melancholic mandolin and underpinned by sympathetic ‘unplugged’ bass and percussion.
After just five listens, with each one unfolding a new delight, I know this will be a fixture on my playlist for a long while to come.
end
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, 30 April 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Transfiguration Of Vincent (Audio CD)
Bought because I was intrigued by both the title and the prospect of an acoustic version of Bowie's Let's Dance.
M Ward wears his influences on his sleeve- his music owes much to Tom Waits and John Fahey, with added shades of mid-seventies Ry Cooder. But the beauty of his songs and his playing stands out. His voice has a strange,earthy yet ethereal quality - kind of a cross between Waits and Art Garfunkel (if such a thing is possible).
Despite the strength of Ward's own songs, the stand-out is Let's Dance - beautiful.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Remarkable, 29 Oct 2013
By 
Mr. D. Walker "grokuk" (Kent) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: Transfiguration Of Vincent (Audio CD)
I bought this blind and totally on a whim and I have to say it's one of the most interesting, rewarding and endlessly enjoyable albums that I have. Reading other reviews, there's a lot of comparisons to Tom Waits about which I can't comment as I know little of Mr Waits. But this album I find to be quirky, beautiful and like a great film in it has more and more to discover each time you experience it. Give it a go.
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Transfiguration Of Vincent
Transfiguration Of Vincent by M. Ward (Audio CD - 2003)
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