M. Ward – More Rain
If you’re scanning these pages for a record your granny might be into, this is the one. Also known for his work alongside Zooey Deschanel as the other half of She & Him, M. Ward is a seasoned and remarkably consistent songsmith of cosy, classic-leaning pop. His latest, inspired by Oregon’s equally dependable climate, is decisively easygoing. Ambling confidently from style to style, More Rain finds Ward playing genre bingo with generally enjoyable results, including a tasteful homage to T. Rex and a well-handled country number about his Christian faith.
Doo-wop pastiche You’re So Good to Me is a bit too gleeful in lathering on the clichés (did you know 'baby' rhymes with 'maybe'?) and sounds ripe for insertion into a heart-shaped photo frame before being acquainted with a sledgehammer. Even so, it takes a unique talent to turn a conceit like Slow Driving Man – a mellow ballad about an apprehensive new driver taking his sweet time – into something genuinely quite stirring.