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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Alt Country Beauty, 27 Feb 2005
P. Sharpe - See all my reviews
This review is from: Transistor Radio (Audio CD)
M Ward is one of those rarities, an absolute genius at his genre, if you get chance to see him live, watch in awe as his fingers cover the whole fretboard at amazing speed producing beautiful fingerpicked alt. country music that has heart and soul and is just not a technical masterclass exhibition of guitar playing, while remaining about as modest and humble as one could ever possibly be. I chatted with him after his show in Birkenhead in 2003, he was charming.
Further listens may prove me wrong but i don't believe this album is quite in the same league as its two predecessors, Transfiguration of Vincent and End of Amnesia. It does grow however with listens.
The opener, You Still Believe In Me is a delicate acoustic finger picked instrumental cover of one of my favourite Beach Boys songs off Pet Sounds. One Life Away, starts the more country theme which tends to be followed throughout the album.
Whereas the previous two albums were definitely alt country, with the emphasis on Alt, not that that they were that alternative but they were definitely not country which often bands tagged with the genre alt country tend to sway towards,this one is definitely going in that direction.
There are less of his usual little spoken bits going on in the background in the middle of songs and his voice is just that little bit purer this time. It still has the slight gruff rasp of Tom Waits or Howe Gelb (Giant Sand) while remaining sweet by the Neil Young in him.
Stand out tracks, Sweethearts on Parade with its Grandaddy-esque drone guitar in the background. Hi Fi is the most singable. Parts of Big Boat recall a country version of Gomez's Whipping Picadilly and include female backing vocals which is a welcome addition to M Wards music. Pauls Song is also fab.
Here Comes the Sun Again, takes a line from the George Harrison track of almost same name and I'll be Yr Bird is lifted from the extra tracks off Ward's debut, Duet for Guitars vol2. A few instrumentals are also thrown in.
All in all a very enjoyable album following a similar format to previous releases but not quite as inventive.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best thing since sliced bread, 8 Nov 2006
This review is from: Transistor Radio (Audio CD)
I've just discovered this guy, and can't recommend this album enough.

It doesn't matter what your into, just buy it. Buy two just in case the first wears out.

If we're talking influences then how about this for a hand John Fahey, Tom Waits, Brian Wilson, Muddy Waters, and a very heavy dash of Louis Armstrong. The album seeks to feel like a long dusty car journey with the radio tuning in to anything and everything. There's even some Bach and a Mariachi Band.

Matt Ward is a fabulous guitarist, a clever lyricist and he arranges each track with an artists attention to detail, but even above all this it's his voice that is the slam-dunk. He has obviously sold his soul for that voice, but we are all the beneficiaries. Warm, human, and as much depth and character as you could shake a stick at.

There are no favourite tracks here, but Four Hours in Washington and Oh, Take Me Back remind me of why I listen to music. It's all worth the effort when you turn up a gem like this.

Matt Ward deserves a much higher profile than he gets because he's got more talent in his little finger than all the other celebrated singer-songwriters being bandied about put together.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Something Different, 22 Oct 2005
By A Customer
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This review is from: Transistor Radio (Audio CD)
What a voice. I am so glad somebody pointed this boy out to me because everyone else is really missing out on something fantastic here. Some songs, i admit i have my favourites - whereas my friend loves those i prefer less! - but thats all on taste. I couldn't name one bad song on this album, and his voice, i mean WOW what a voice. Unique as hell. Individual. Something that i literally beg you to at least listen to. Yes, i was utterly thrilled when i got this, and i think you would be too.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Magic, 19 Feb 2008
This review is from: Transistor Radio (Audio CD)
This album has a kind of timeless quality to it. It can kind of breeze by and transport you with it. M.Ward's music seems so out of touch with modern rock & pop, that it almost feels like he's arrived in a time machine from the 50's with his songs. However, I haven't heard an album as good as this for a long time. "One Life Away" "Hi Fi" & "Paul's Song" are almost perfect. His new album "Post War" is great too but this is the top of the pile for me.
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Transistor Radio by M. Ward (Audio CD - 2005)
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