For those who were seduced by the minimalist quiet whisperings on Iron And Wine’s early albums Our Endless Numbered Days and The Creek Drank The Cradle will find the new album The Shepherd’s Dog a venture into new territory.
This album crosses the border from timid (who can forget the sweetly sparse cover of Such Great Heights?) to bold, with mastermind Samuel Beam finally unlocking what we always knew he had lurking somewhere within the depths of his creativity.
This is the album any Iron And Wine fan has been waiting (ever so patiently) for, and will finally get to hear September 25. Beam takes The Shepherd’s Dog to a new level with full and flooding background symphonies cradling his poetic lyrics.
The album opens with “Pagan Angel And A Borrowed Car” displaying a twangy guitar sweeping into a fluid currant of organic harmony and hippie-loving melody, paired with a foot-tapping beat straight to the heart. Beam’s vocals are both as raspy and smooth as raw silk.
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The entire album boasts Beam’s newfound confidence in the twisted and soft, a coherence of talent best found on “Lovesong Of A Buzzard”, pairing sleepy singing to upbeat and spirited Caribbean drums. Standing out is the line, “...a tattoo of a flower on a broken wrist.”
The track “Carousel” starts off as a digitally warped lullaby, but quickly transcends into a old southern back water hymn.
The album finishes with “Flightless Bird, American Mouth”, an achingly heartfelt tune sung with a pure, unadulterated innocence.
Beam has found his new chapter in song writing, and it seems to be sunshine folk mixed with just the right amount of introspection.