Personnel includes: M. Ward, Howe Gelb, Adam Selzer, Kate Simer.
Every once in a while you run across a record that--though at first it seems innocuous and rather low-profile--begins, with repeated listens, to seep into your consciousness and become (slowly, steadily) part of your cellular structure. M. Ward's TRANSFIGURATION OF VINCENT is one such record. Evocative, unique, and uncommonly powerful, M. Ward is a singer/songwriter with a penchant for American roots sounds, a knack for memorable melodies, and a stunning ability to translate emotion through his vivid, detail-rich lyrics and understated delivery.
While the quality of the music alone would be enough to recommend this album, there is something else afoot here too. The songs on VINCENT feel as if they've grown directly out of the earth's soil and are being transmitted from the 1930s over an old Emerson radio. There is a sepia-toned quality to Ward's music that evokes screen doors and lantern-light, a vibe that somehow fits perfectly with his surrealist tendencies. From the melancholic stomp of "Sad, Sad Song" to the whirling shuffle of "Helicopter" to the achingly beautiful cover of David Bowie's "Let's Dance," there isn't a misstep here, and the whole thing adds up to a quiet little masterpiece of an album.
What the critics say...
Uncut (6/03, p.93) - 4 stars out of 5 - "...Another masterclass in deft guitar picking, smudged with piano, harmonica and a voice like honey drizzled onto a dry creekbed..."
CMJ (03/17/03, p.7) - "...A masterfully performed, traditionally arranged collection of songs, deeply rooted in both folk and country..."
Mojo (Publisher) (5/03, p.102) - 4 stars out of 5 - "...Interspersed with John Fahey-ish instrumentals, these delicately crafted songs are entirely bewitching....Heady and endearing stuff..."