Iron & Wine - Beast Epic
Sam Beam’s long running, and largely solo project, Iron & Wine entered its 15th year in 2017. He’s been quite productive since with many LPs, EPs and collaborations with Calexico, Ben Bridwell (Band of Horses) and Jessica Hoop. With each project, he’s steadily grown his reach while challenging his listeners with exploratory sounds that don’t necessarily mesh with the npr-ready tag he gets associated with.
He began his recording career with Sub Pop and now he’s back in their stable after some time with Warner Bros. and Nonesuch. Beast Epic was recorded at the Wilco Loft in Chicago and while it’s not entirely a raw-to-the-bone production like his home-recorded, 2002 LP The Creek Drank The Cradle, it does represent a sound more akin to his early days. Serene melodies and dust-bowl ambiance are blended with simple arrangements and a quieted atmosphere nicely laid down by a small crew from his long-time band. Jim Becker of Califone carries the majority of the instrumental weight contributing sparse but perfectly timed support on mandolin, violin, guitar and banjo. And Beam’s voice is as warm as ever of course.
Other than the standard LP, Beast Epic is available in a 2LP deluxe version with 2 bonus studio cuts and another 3 demo versions of songs from the album. And if you know anything about Iron & Wine, his demo takes are sometimes just as good as his studio mixes. (Dom)
Check out a track here.