M. Ward embraces the timeless traditions of former troubadours and creates an album that is steeped in the past but also manages to look forward. â€˜Hold Timeâ€™ is a concise listen that features M. Wardâ€™s mixed bag of melodies and compositions. Opening track, â€œNever Had Nobody Like Youâ€ is a breezy bit of pop with a guitar riff that initially recalled Steely Danâ€™s â€œReelinâ€™ In The Yearsâ€ before mutating into a greasy blues. â€œJailbirdâ€ is a melancholic strum of a song sung with a sigh before leading into the funereal title track that deadpans about a lost relationship.
Then the album takes a twist and becomes invigorated with a cover of Buddy Hollyâ€™s â€œRave Onâ€ followed by a sister song in â€œTo Save Me.â€ The country blues of â€œFisher of Menâ€ receives a droll take before leading into a cover of Don Gibsonâ€™s â€œOh Lonesome Me.â€ â€œOh Lonesome Meâ€ was also covered by Neil Young and thankfully did not feature a craggy Lucinda Williams singing along. After this track, it seems that Ward stumbles through â€œEpistemologyâ€ before regaining his footing with â€œBlakeâ€™s Viewâ€ and â€œShangri-La.â€ M. Ward closes the album with â€œOutroâ€ a warm fuzz drenched instrumental that lingers long after the last note is played.