M. Ward, aka the “Him” of indie duo She & Him (not to be confused with HIM — the god-awful goth band from Finland), had a long, steadily growing career before hooking up with Zooey Deschanel (so jealous!) and blowing up on the national stage.
Fortunately, Hold Time capitalizes on all the new attention by simply being yet another great M. Ward record. Ward’s folk-tinged tunes — covering well-worn topics such as love (“Rave On,”), spirituality (“Epistemology”), and death (“Blake’s View”) — don’t reinvent the wheel, but he skillfully avoids clichés with some (not too) clever wordplay, and his unhurried, rough vocals satisfy like a good back scratch. On “Stars of Leo,” Ward croons, “I get so low I need a little pick-me-up / I get so high I need a bring-me-down,” and Hold Time almost always finds itself on the right side of the line between too hot and too cool — a skill Ward has been honing since before “he” became “Him.”