More Rain starts with silence. Then the patter of rain on tarp slowly reintroduces us to Matthew 'M' Ward's lightly graveled croon for the first time in four years. And as he sings "it's alright if you don't mind, it's alright if you do" during opener "Pirate Dial" you're reminded and reassured of the beauty he is capable of creating. It feels like finding an old friend.
Few artists are able to stir the emotions like Ward. His eighth album More Rain reinforces this feeling. Littered with songs of heartbreak and hope, this is a record for people searching for a little piece of sanctuary, somewhere to go when your ebb is low and your spirits are in need of a gentle lift.
How you'll gauge these melancholic country twinges, then, may rest entirely on the space you're in. Feel ebullient? Then the tender strains of "I'm Listening" or the lilting wooze of "Slow Driving Man" are unlikely to keep you occupied long. But in lower moods, each is an immaculate combination of space and melody that melts through the ear canals with creamy, dreamy consistency.
Every song here is lusciously arranged. "You're So Good to Me" is a full figured, bassline-blossoming lament, speckled with harmonies and steel guitar strains; "Phenomenon" finds Ward whispering "I just believe in you" over quilted acoustic strums; while "Time Won't Wait" romps forcefully to rattling, rinky-dink piano strikes that charge alongside a blustering melody.
More Rain really is a special kind of listen. And, yes, you could argue that these songs are not far removed from the places Ward has taken us before. But that's not the kind of songwriter M. Ward is. His consistency keeps us safe, it keeps us special, it keeps us together (www.mwardmusic.com)
Author rating: 8/10
Average reader rating: 7/10
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