Saturday, November 21, 2009

Jason Ward: "Almighty Row" (album review)

Almighty Row is the first full length album from singer/songwriter Jason Ward.

The album is a collection of well-crafted, intimate songs.  Ward draws upon the standard themes of relations for his inspiration.  What separates his tales from the pack is his ability to approach the topic with a foreboding, sombre pair of eyes.

The arrangements are not intricate.  Most of the songs see Ward accompanied only by an acoustic guitar, with the occasional piano or subtle string adornment.  While the minimalism works for this batch of songs, it would be interesting to hear in what direction a more fleshed out sound would carry the music.  We get a hint of the potential on the track "Sinkhole".  On that song an organ whirl adds depth and a sense of loss that nears bone chilling.

Vocally, Ward's delivery is deep and rich.  He brings a dark, ominous tone to his songs which on many cuts, particularly "Bottom", is eerily reminiscent of Mark Lanegan's whiskey-soaked baritone rumble.  Backing vocals add a ghostly melodic element to the refrain of such songs as the "Bright".

As is to be expected, not every song is a winner.  There are a handful of tracks which could benefit from a more expanded sound.

In the end though, Almighty Row is a solid debut from an artist brimming with promise.  Keep an ear out for Jason Ward.

You can download the entire album for free right here.

Best tracks: "Just About Time (to Get Even)", "Bright"

Track listing for Almighty Row:
  • I'm Not In Trouble
  • Hinting Towards the Door
  • Bottom
  • Just About Time (to Get Even)
  • Sendoff
  • Sugarcoat
  • Sinkhole
  • Hope You Don't Mind
  • Bright
  • Sorry, I can't Come Home
Jason Ward's Myspace

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