Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Shepherd's Dog

I'll be the first to admit, I've never been the biggest Iron and Wine fan. They were among my ex-girlfriend's favorite music, and as such, I was subjected to a great deal of Sam Beam's lo-fi acoustic dirges. While I did have a certain fondness for a few songs on the Woman King EP, most of his material sounded far too bland and dry for me. I guess I just didn't "get" it. And this is coming from me, lo-fi music connoisseur.

Anyhow, upon listening to Iron and Wine's new record, The Shepherd's Dog, my mind was changed. Sam Beam has taken the potential he showed on his first two full lengths and fleshed it out, into what I think should be amongst the competition for record of the year. Songs like "Pagan Angel and a Borrowed Car" and "The Devil Never Sleeps" are essentially comprised of the same components Beam used on his first two albums, but they sound significantly more interesting when they are carried out by a full band. There are times on this record when Iron and Wine get adventurous, like the reggae sound of "Wolves (Song of the Shepherd's Dog)" and the African sounds of "House By the Sea." These are moments where this record shines, in my opinion, since they really show how far along Beam has come in his songwriting. They show a synthesis of the old Iron and Wine with new, interesting sounds.

Even songs as simple as "Boy With A Coin" sound interesting, in fact, that may be one of the best songs on the record, along with "Carousel." I love Carousel, it has an absolutely beautiful melody, and it may be my personal favorite on The Shepherd's Dog. Overall, I think this record justifies any acclaim Sam Beam has been getting for his music, and whatever flaws it has are well overcome by the great songwriting that is consistent throughout. I am going to see Iron and Wine this Saturday; I will be sure to publish a full report on that sometime next week.

Iron and Wine - Carousel
Iron and Wine - White Tooth Man


Brian Zakeski said...

This has nothing to do with this post, but I keep trying to listen to the "Flashing Lights" remix by Clipse and it never works.
Anyway you could fix that?

Erik said...

That's Joey's problem, he needs to change the host of the mp3.

Zack said...

Something needs to happen to Jim and Pam. I need the awkward moments again.