Matador - 2003 - 44 minutes

The lovers of M (it's Matt) Ward's guitar playing who fell for his '99 debut, 'Duets for Guitars, No 2' and wider-heard follow-up 'End of Amnesia' are set to multiply with the release of this ridiculously good album.

If Sam Peckinpah was still around you reckon he'd find somewhere for the Western beauty of opening instrumental 'Transfiguration #1', but Ward's appeal stretches out far further than just those taken with alt.country. He can be poppy or dark but is never showy with his gift or forgets just how much a chorus counts.

On a record where every track lives up to the last he even takes a cover of Bowie's 'Let's Dance' and makes it become the exact opposite – tender, frail and a solace for the shy. Why Ward hasn't got more notice up to now is a mystery. Go (trans)figure.

Harry Guerin

Tracklisting: Transfiguration #1 - Vincent O’Brien - Sad, Sad Song - Undertaker - Duet for Guitars #3 - Outta My Head - Involuntary - Helicopter - Poor Boy, Minor Key - Fool Says - Get to the Table on Time - A Voice at the End of the Line - Dead Man – Let's Dance - Transfiguration #2