Wednesday, December 26, 2007
Iron and Wine - The Shepherd's Dog
Iron and Wine, "House By The Sea" (YSI link)
Iron and Wine, "Flightless Bird, American Mouth" (YSI link)
Let me start by commending Bagelsmith for being open today and saving my hungry ass with a nice onion bagel with cream cheese and MTV for showing a marathon of The Hills and saving my bored ass. We'll have more to say about this season soon, but if you have a problem with a man being into this show, join the club. I know it's wrong, but I can't help myself. Yeah!
It's been a tough time lately health-wise, a lousy year is coming to an end, a new one lies ahead; a little introspection and acoustic guitar seem like the order of the day, as good as time as any to take a look at the recent Iron and Wine album, The Shepherd's Dog. While Sam Beam may always be associated with a stripped down and acoustic sound, this one should confirm that he has put that behind him. While I kinda feel like the lo-fi beginnings were perfect for the man's music (memories of listening to "Naked As We Came" late at night on a bed somewhere are dancing through my head tonight), a few listens to this one and this new junkyard indie sound may be even more perfect and fitting for his haunting lyrics and voice. Take "Pagan Angel and a Borrowed Car," the album's opener, which features
More than anything though, it's Beam's voice that draws me in. Readers know that I am not a big indie rock fan, but when I am, it is usually the voice that sells me more than anything. Beam's has this ethereal quality, a soft, whispery voice that sort floats on top of the ruckus going on below. It's so nice that I occasionally forget that it's singing actual lyrics, especially on the album closer, the gorgeous "Flightless Bird, American Mouth." On that one, he sings the refrain at the uppermost range, the falsetto sounds so perfect to my ears I kinda wanna cry and listen to this on repeat and have a nice hot cup of cocoa.
All of this is to say that I recommend checking this album out. Much like The National's album, it took me more than a few listens to come to this album. Besides maybe the opening track, there's nothing on here that is a unforgettable single, which always presents me from giving it a top score. But, repeated listens (or maybe just one listen for real indie fans) will reward you with a great, roots rock album that strains at the edges of that genre, a gorgeous and haunting album that will undoubtedly make many best of the year lists. Buy your copy here and see what you think.