M Ward  (4AD)

Hold Time is Portland troubadour Matt Ward’s most accessible record yet, and not only for the presence of star guests such as Lucinda Williams.

As ever, Ward’s at his best when he matches his guitars to his exhausted vocals, as on the title song, and less impressive when he steps on the gas, as on To Save Me.

But the best moment is an instrumental, and a cover to boot: a heartbreaking take on I’m A Fool To Want You that closes the set. WILL FULFORD-JONES