Post-War - M. Ward
Metascore
81

Universal acclaim - based on 30 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 28 out of 30
  2. Negative: 0 out of 30
  1. Ward's talents have never been more persuasively showcased. [1 Sep 2006, p.77]
  2. Post-War is easily M. Ward's most accessible album to date, charged with a bouncy spirit.
  3. Post-War is not only Ward's best effort yet, it's one of the best records of the year.
  4. 88
    An album confident enough in its substance to not force profound stylistic changes. [#21, p.100]
  5. Post-War isn't perfect, but it's all the more listenable for that fact.
  6. On Post-War, Ward is firmly and thrillingly of the present day and thinking ahead both in the allusiveness of the album’s title and the eclectic range of production that makes him absolutely necessary to modern folk. [Summer 2006]
  7. 80
    A rich, bright sounding record, albeit etched with Ward's lyrical ruefulness and voice of crumbling, lugubrious regret. [Oct 2006, p.111]
  8. 80
    Ward's sweet, carefree voice is at odds with the urgency of the music. [Oct 2006, p.133]
  9. 80
    Introducing some very welcome rock rhythms to his blend of folk and fingerpicked Delta blues, Ward’s disarmingly sweet fourth album squeezes big themes into modest but bewitching tunes.
  10. 80
    Another impressive and complex recording. [Sep 2006, p.139]
  11. It's a rare thing to find an album that is a real, unexpected pleasure to listen to all the way through.
  12. It's an inventive, sharp delight of a record, and possibly one of the year's best.
  13. Ward’s band kick back with a looser, rockier feel than previously, yet his dusty, wistful voice still inhabits an age all of its own.
  14. There's more body here, more barroom spill and rollick. There's also a feeling Ward is pushing at the fabric of his music, trying to expand and progress. But the same cinematic mist hovers, the same old, old intimacy fans know well.
  15. While he still relies heavily on old-timey melodies and washes every instrument with classic delay, the set feels more alive than usual.
  16. 80
    The most mature and cohesive set of songs in Ward's catalog. [#73, p.109]
  17. Whereas his previous long-players were primarily personified by their hushed beauty, dusty experimentation, and nostalgic romanticism, Post-War pushes forward a more boisterous and band-orientated vision for Ward’s sturdy songwriting.
  18. There's a bit of Starbucks gloss to this record, a too-easy-to-like quality that may at first put off serious listeners and music heads. That evaporates pretty quickly, though, as you recognize that its lucid simplicity, its artful artlessness is not a trick, but achievement.
  19. He’s made a honed, handsome piece of work, never too arresting and never too fickle.
  20. Ambivalent, fatalistic, heartbroken, defiantly hopeful.
  21. While some tracks don't exude the same kind of enticing mysticism Ward excels at, Post-War remains a warm, enjoyable listen.
  22. It all sounds familiar but strange, and beautiful enough to suck you in. [24 Aug 2006, p.94]
  23. 70
    Brings a welcome grandeur to Ward's honeyed rasp and nimble guitar picking. [Sep 2006, p.114]
  24. What's disappointing if you're a fan is that the man has his tropes -- both melodic and lyrical -- and stubbornly sticks to 'em.
  25. His singing has a presence to it that brings to mind jazz vocalists--someone as unearthly as Billie Holiday, even--but also the grittiness of a deep-South bluesmen. No one else sounds exactly like him.
  26. The material doesn’t resonate, however, and pales next to Ward’s prior effort, Transistor Radio.
  27. Whereas previously his songs felt carefully and beautifully crafted, here he seems content to merely plunder a whole host of archaic musical styles and immerse himself in self-congratulatory jams, and a result you end up with a less than satisfying hotchpotch of songs.
  28. It’s abundantly clear that Ward is an indie-rock songwriter--a pretty good one sometimes--who doesn’t bring a whole lot else to the table.

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