M. Ward - More Rain

Review by Shannon Shumaker

It only makes sense that M. Ward’s More Rain begins with the sound of rain falling on the ground, accompanied by calming chimes and atmospheric sounds that lull you into relaxation before the first note even hits. The album is the definition of progression, from its overall growth into a fuller, more upbeat sound, to the fact that no two songs sound exactly the same. More Rain is cohesive, while still growing as it transitions from song to song, and the result is twelve very fun and easy to listen to tracks.

Fading in from the sounds of rain is “Pirate Dial,” which gives us our first taste of the different moods on More Rain. “Pirate Dial” is soothing and relaxing, and feels much like being cozy inside on a rainy afternoon. It’s very easy to close your eyes and let the soothing vocals and instrumentals take you to a different place. But don’t get too relaxed, because immediately following “Pirate Dial” is “Time Won’t Wait,” which picks up the pace with catchy backing vocals that hook you right off the bat. “Time Won’t Wait” takes a huge step away from “Pirate Dial,” right before the album can get too sleepy.

As More Rain progresses, the difference in sounds and moods comes as no surprise. And while no two songs sound exactly the same, none sound out of place, either. The warmth and inviting tone of “Pirate Dial” and “Time Won’t Wait” carry over into the other tracks, with varying moods and sounds to keep you interested. “Confession,” for instance, just grows and grows as it progresses. A high point is definitely the horn instruments that dominate the track, something that can’t be found on the songs that come before it.

“Girl From Conejo Valley” is another standout, and is perfect for long drives - it’s the perfect mix between mellow and poppy. With soothing and soft vocals coupled with wild, upbeat drums and acoustic guitar work, “Girl From Conejo Valley” is just really stunning. Then comes the following track, “Slow Driving Man,” which sounds just how the title suggests - slow, groovy and at times very psychedelic. The echoey instrumentals and matching vocals are a standout, especially in the line, “This is a song about a slow driving man/And I’m about to sing it as slow as I can.” Changing things up even more are “You’re So Good To Me,” and “Temptation,” which both have a more gritty, yet laid back quality to them.

Bringing things to a very well rounded close is the second to final song, “Little Baby,” which sounds completely different from anything else on the album, but the laid back do-wop sound makes perfect sense as soon as it comes in. With a mood similar to “Pirate Dial,” “Little Baby” brings More Rain right back to where it started before ending with the bright, hopeful track, “I’m Going Higher.” While More Rain may not leave you lingering or waiting for more from M. Ward, it is sure to leave you feeling fulfilled. More Rain is not only diverse, but also incredibly well rounded, each songwriting and sound choice making complete sense.

Rating: 4/5

Listen to "Pirate Dial"

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