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|M. Ward||Primary Artist, Guitar, Piano, Vocals|
|John Parish||Percussion, Marimbas|
|Jon Graboff||Pedal Steel Guitar|
|Mike Mogis||Organ, Orchestra Bells|
|Mike Coykendall||Acoustic Guitar, Bass, Percussion|
|Rachel Cox||Background Vocals|
|Susan Sanchez||Background Vocals|
|Nathan "Jr." Andersen||Piano|
|Autumn de Wilde||Cover Photo|
|Pierre de Reeder||Engineer|
|M. Ward||Composer, Producer|
|Rob Jones||Text Layout|
Posted April 13, 2012
Matthew Ward---or M. Ward as he calls himself---seems like a very busy guy these days. Composing eerie scores for TV shows like "True Blood". Working as one-half of the playful duo known as She & Him with actress Zooey Deschanel. And making the occasional solo album once in a while. "A Wasteland Companion" sounds like the work of a seminal, roving musician of yesteryear, which is what Ward strives to be. In this case, he nearly succeeds.
Part of the reason for that is that Ward is a fantastic musician with a deep, weary voice. His original material, particularly the catchy "Primitive Girl", is sounding more hit-friendly these days. However, he also knows as good song when he hears it---such as Daniel Johnston's "Sweetheart", which Ward (and Zooey Deschanel) turn into a gleeful romp. Steve Shelley, the drummer of Sonic Youth, pops up here as well. And Ward even pays tribute to the late Alex Chilton (or as he calls him "El Goodo") on the poignant opener, "Clean Slate".
This is not to say that Ward has abandoned his eerieness. Some of it comes through on the reality TV insanity of "Watch The Show" and the slitheringly "Crawl After You". An entire album of this stuff would have sounded like the soundtrack of "True Blood". Not that there's anything wrong with that, mind you. Still, Ward shows no signs yet of slowing down and an album like this one will always be welcomed.