Critics have painted M. Ward as something of a star-struck musical revivalist but his work is in truth a thoughtful blend of earnest but lo-fi Nashville classicism and Nilsson-like lyrical play which deserves to be considered on its own terms. On Post-War, Ward’s first album with a full time backing group, he deftly expands on the musical and lyrical themes he has been pursuing throughout his career, bringing fuller expression to his dust blown sonic aesthetic. On the slightly baroque, tympani embellished opener “Poison Cup” Ward plays the role of an unsatisfied lover yearning after a transcendence still greater than Howlin’ Wolf’s fabled “spoonful”, effectively setting the tone for an album full of meditations on man’s inability to realize his romantic ideals. By the time Ward has led the listener through honky-tonk weepers like “Right In the Head” and blues inflected eulogies like “Requiem”, he has thoroughly made his case.
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