Artist: M. Ward Track: "Hold Time" Album: Hold Time Listen

She + Him -- M. Ward's project with actress Zooey Deschanel -- never did much for me, and I never saw the point of having an actress sing all over your album. Hot? Yes. Talented? Debatable. Deschanel appears on two tracks here, and that's plenty. Thank God that we didn't see Ward pair with Scarlett Johansson this time around. (Sorry, Paste magazine.)

Ward goes it alone for the most part, and this album finds him in top form, experimenting with various doses of folk, pop, rock and country. He proves to be a master of tone, pacing, arrangement and feel, wandering with ease from a drowsy, fuzzed out cover of Buddy Holly's "Rave On" to the soaring effervescence of "To Save Me" to the catchy, laidback buzz of the title track.

The entire album is streaming at the above link. When it expires, click here.