The “Him” of She & Him returns to his solo roots with a stunning album.
Having spent most of 2008 performing under the She & Him moniker with actress Zooey Deschanel and wooing music patrons with their perfect pop-tinged collection, Volume One, Portland, OR-based tunesmith M. Ward returns to his solo roots for the long-awaited Hold Time. Following up the rustic flavor of 2006’s Post-War, this 14-song set fills the heart in an oh-so-familiar way and is Ward’s brightest rock moment with his most revealing songs yet. Deschanel’s girlish vocals shine on the infectious “Never Had Nobody Like You” and the slow dance charm of “Rave On,” while Grandaddy’s Jason Lytle joins Ward for “To Save Me,” a jubilant rocker where sadness explodes into absolute joy. Even at his most wistful—“Oh Lonesome Me” featuring Lucinda Williams and “Fisher of Men,” which could have been a Johnny Cash song—M. Ward hints at hope with his genuine approach. One listen to the cool guitar-driven saunter of “Epistemology” and you’ll get it. In two words: simply stunning.