REVIEWED BY CHUCK ARNOLD
He may not have John Mayer’s juice among the soccer-mom set, but M. Ward has plenty of hipster indie cred. The singer-songwriter opened for the White Stripes on tour in 2005, coproduced this year’s solo debut by Rilo Kiley frontwoman Jenny Lewis and pulled in guest turns for Post-War from Neko Case and My Morning Jacket’s Jim James. With Ward’s hushed, moody vocals, acoustic-guitar-driven atmospherics and a mysterious allure befitting a man who keeps his first name to himself (it’s Matt), this disc sneaks up on you and catches hold. His lyrics, some of which address the aftermath of war, also deepen on repeat spins. On the Ryan Adams-esque alt-country ditty “Chinese Translation,” he sings, “If life is really as short as they say, then why is the night so long?” No matter, Post-War is the kind of album you meditate on through the night while the rest of the world is asleep.
DOWNLOAD THIS: “Chinese Translation”