Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Revinylization Project: M Ward - Hold Time

I haven't really reviewed an album in a long time. So, in the year in which I am trying to buy vinyl exclusively I figured I could introduce a new format/feature. Enter The Revinylization Project. This is my first entry. Each review will feature information about the Music, Insert, Sleeve, Extras, Record, and whY you should buy this record (or not). Unlike other reviews, this feature will not be limited to new releases. Whenever I buy a record or revisit an old favorite, it will be included in The Revinylization Project. Enjoy, music lovers.

M Ward - Hold Time

After a few years of Amy Winehouse-esque retro rock filling the airwaves in true cookie-cutter fashion, the only true purveyor of retro songcraft has survived to make some of the best music on maybe the best indie label. M Ward separates himself from others who try to revisit the past of popular music without true craftsmanship or genuine artistry. Hold Time is no exception. The opening tracks are as strong as any in Ward's catalog, including the She and Him material, but the album wanes a little in the middle. The closing third of the album is passable and an improvement from the pudgy midsection. While the record is a good album, it's not great when one considers Ward's earlier works. Still, the craftsmanship is to be admired.

Inside my record was a card (addressing me as "Dear Honored Listener") that gave me the right to one free download of the album. Now I can listen to my record in the car as well.


The cover is a photo of a 10th century Chinese painting. The sleeve opens to three panels of the photo, blown up to take up space beyond the cardboard packaging for my record. The blown up image on the inside is of a newer Chinese piece (20th century). There are no liner notes aside from all the players Ward employs for each track. The thank-yous are loaded with Saddle Creek folk, a guy named Michael Moore, and it's signed with the statement "Blessed Are the Peacemakers".

Aside from the digital download, there isn't really anything else. Although, I should mention that Merge did me the favor of packaging the record in a clear plastic sleeve to help protect the lovely sleeve. Additionally, the plastic includes stickers with the album's artist, title, and track list. I really appreciate this since I have run out of protection for my other records.

The black vinyl is of the heavy 180 gram variety, solid and clean. This fine record is additionally housed in a cloudy white envelope for protection.

As usual, M Ward crafts a nice-sounding record and puts together some attractive packaging. Of course, the 180 gram vinyl with digital download option should be enough for anyone with at least a passing interest in M Ward.

1 comment:

Juliet said...

Cool new feature! I like that you're not just talking about the music because as most vinyl nerds will attest, the packaging, etc is part of the fun of buying vinyl.