M. Ward
Hold Time


3.0
good

Review

by Sobhi Youssef EMERITUS
March 1st, 2009 | 18 replies | 7,892 views


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Amidst charming production and classic Americana, Hold Time is entertaining yet stagnant and generally underwhelming.

From a thematic perspective, Matt Ward maintains a simplistic, yet effective methodology; Transfiguration of Vincent bled pain and broken hearts, Transistor Radio paid homage to the AM radio of old, while the epic Post War was about… well… war and metaphysical fallout. The common thread throughout each motif lies within heavily Americana-influenced arrangements, basic yet fundamentally beautiful. Using composition as a vessel to convey perspective, it is either baffling or awkwardly pompous that 2009’s Hold Time attempts to infer the implicit – that some things are indeed timeless.

Hearkening back to simpler times, the attempted genre is consistent with M. Ward’s previous efforts – yet even more subdued, reducing complexity so much as to be detrimental. An avid practitioner of combining minimalist folk with (but not limited to) blues, surfer rock, and the danceable (while enhanced by expansive production standards), Hold Time fails to maintain any epic quality beyond more than a handful of arrangements. Underwhelming from the onset, “For Beginners” expounds the very title; Ward is no newcomer to folk-rock, yet manages to pull off a poor self-imitation in initializing a tone unfitting for the mount Zion subject matter. Follow-up “Never Had Nobody Like You” is an exercise in rudimentary blues-rock, dripping of pseudo-emotional drivel and elementary school jazz band qualities. Don’t fret though, it gets better.

With incredibly high standards to begin with, it’s very difficult to find any solace in Ward’s new direction. Feeding from his time with Zooey Deschanel on the She & Him project, Hold Time takes an amorphous shape, functioning as an intermediary between Volume One and Post War. The S&H influence is obvious on several occasions where Ward seems almost confused with his allegiances, as explained (albeit possibly a bit too severely). This synthesis is effective more than it isn’t, and while it doesn’t reach the epic proportions of his previous effort, therein lays the foundation for future improvement. Dancing somewhere between memoir and theological musing, “Fisher of Men” is definitive proof of this. Remnants from times past (perhaps a compositional metaphor) are sprinkled throughout, namely the epic and dynamic “Hold Time” and beautiful outro track.

While unpracticed in this hybridization approach, Ward manages to put together an enjoyable effort. More-so a redefinition than a follow-up to his acclaimed solo catalogue, Hold Time proves his masterful production ability and effortless folk-guitar skill, but pervades a completely disjointed atmosphere. Make no mistake, this is an enjoyable listen and could be an effective formula with more work and cohesion, but for now, this is the first major disappointment of the year.



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Rudy K. STAFF (4)
The mellow production and Ward’s campfire playing create a song with a sort of timeless quality to...


Comments:Add a Comment 
kingsoby1
Emeritus
February 18th 2009



4938 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

First thing you'll do after listening to this: Listen to Post War
Second thing you'll do after listening to this: Listen to Volume One

rasputin
February 18th 2009



14512 Comments


Love your reviews.

masterofcum
February 18th 2009



428 Comments


probably never listen to this

Time
February 18th 2009



81 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

good review, I'm probably gonna delete this album from my HD tbh. maybe I'll keep the title track and To Save Me

kingsoby1
Emeritus
February 18th 2009



4938 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

i typically delete albums that are worse than a 2/5. usually keeping the 2-2.5 albums is only for academic purposes and sake of comparison, but i still listen here and there.
but yeah, this completely non essential.

Athom
Staff Reviewer
February 18th 2009



17195 Comments


First thing you'll do after listening to this: Listen to Post War

100% correct.

cheers on another great review.

joshuatree
Emeritus
February 18th 2009



3743 Comments


i agree completely with this review

Mendigo
February 19th 2009



2299 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

great review. maybe I will still listen to it, as most other reviews I've read about it were quite positive.

badtaste
February 19th 2009



824 Comments


Very nice review g.

kingsoby1
Emeritus
February 19th 2009



4938 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

yeah, im very puzzled at the burst of positivity this has received... but after reading a bit closer into some of those writeups, it seems that a lot of people are saying similar things, except they don't it's as big of a let down as i do.
to be completely honest, i love all of m. ward's previous works, and i even dug She & Him... this is the first time I've been bored by something he's done.

Mendigo
February 20th 2009



2299 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

got it, and actually it doesn't sound too bad. but nothing special - like you sayed: flawed but enjoyable.
the I'm a Fool to Want You Outro must be my favorite track.

kingsoby1
Emeritus
February 20th 2009



4938 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

yeah that outro track is sick. i wish the good stuff here replaced the weaker stuff on post war... then post war would have been a 5/5 easily.

t_truax44
February 23rd 2009



10 Comments


pretty solid review. i'm a big m ward fan and will soon be buying this album. i was just curious of one thing... who's Mark Ward?

Mendigo
February 23rd 2009



2299 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

wikipedia says:

Mark Ward may refer to:
* Mark Ward (footballer born 1962)
* Mark Ward (footballer born 1982)


t_truax44
February 24th 2009



10 Comments


ah that makes sense

gaslightanthem
February 24th 2009



5209 Comments


i guess i should just stick to post war then
is transistor radio any good btw?

kingsoby1
Emeritus
February 24th 2009



4938 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

thanks for the catch... i thought i saw mark somewhere.
transistor radio and transfiguration of vincent are both awesome.

gaslightanthem
February 24th 2009



5209 Comments


k, i'll have to listen to them i guess.



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