M. Ward has returned with his seventh and latest release, A Wasteland Companion, released today, April 10. He is one of the great musicians among contemporary folk and indie music. M. Ward is mostly known for his last two releases, Post-War from 2006 and Hold Time from 2009 and his work and collaboration with actress and singer Zooey Deschanel and their band, She & Him. M. Ward has a very distinctive style of playing and singing that resonates a warm atmospheric sound that would captivate any listener. A Wasteland Companion is one of his best efforts yet that captures a sweet sound that compliments his usual vintage tone. This album introduces a more mellow sound than his previous records that reflect off some of his work with She & Him.“Clean State” opens the album with a soft and melodic slide guitar. This is one of the highlights of the album. The track opens with the enamoring opening line, “When I was a younger man I thought the pain of defeat would last forever/But now I don’t know what it would take to make my heart back down.” It’s that type of well-worn poetry that marks Ward’s best songs. Thankfully, Wasteland gives more to us than his previous efforts. “Primitive Girl” is an upbeat track that hints of Ward’s previous jumpy folk-rock sound. “Me and My Shadow” echoes as it bursts with distorted guitar and fast pace percussion. “Sweetheart” is another upbeat tune with guest vocals by Ms. Deschanel. “I Get Ideas” is sung by both Ward and Zooey as a duet. It’s a fun tune you could dance to. “The First Time I Ran Away” is a soft tune carried through gentle guitar chords. “A Wasteland Companion” is a mellow instrumental that serves as an excellent pause for the record. “Watch The Show” begins the second half of the record turning to a more tranquil sound. “There’s A Key”, “Crawl After You”, “Wild Goose”, which come next, are some of the most powerful and romantic tunes off of the album. “Pure Joy” closes off the album with mellow acoustic strums and plucking that slowly fades.
A Wasteland Companion is M. Ward’s way of combining what he learned from his previous solo work and his work with other musicians to form his, quaint and heartwarming new release. This is a perfect companion for the lonely side of life. The record is a bag full of several layers that take you onto many paths of imagination.