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4.5 out of 5 stars25
4.5 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 29 September 2007
I was spoiled; I heard the new tracks live. Pagan Angel, Boy With a Coin, House by the Sea, Resurrection Fern and certainly Carousel are best heard with one singer + one guitar. When I heard the studio version of BWaC, I was a little concerned. I greatly dislike Calexico's sound and I dislike Sam Beam's work with them. I can't listen to all that faux Latino nonsense over his voice. The song seemed flatter and passionless once recorded.

TSD sounds like someone let Calexico in the room. Certain rhythms are more reminiscient of strip mall/elevator musak (Innocent Bones). Carousel now sounds like it's performed with a cartoon-underwater voice. Pagan Angel did not need clichéd "ooh ooh" backing vocals.

I was not one of the naysayers who disliked Woman King because it contained other instruments and modern effects; I liked the change, I liked the progress. I fear I'll be one of the naysayers here. I&W's beauty is in the simplicity, and adding reggae beats, Latino rhythms and all sorts of other weird stuff takes the attention away from the lyrics, flattening and drowning out Beam's voice.

That said, it's still worth the purchase if for Resurrection Fern alone, as one you get past the irritating effects the songs are beautiful. Thing is, you shouldn't be expected to filter half the layers off a song to find it beautiful.
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on 16 November 2014
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on 25 September 2007
Iron and Wine's third album may well be a fairly good one compared to the rest of this week's, or this month's crop. But compared to former releases by Sam Beam and his guitar, it is almost pathetic. The cheap (although perhaps innovative) pop-rock tricks peddled on this album, that seemed so far away from his music before, are painful to any people who have felt the force of his lyrics through his whispered desires on former albums.
From a dusty town in Georgia to the prosaic modernity of Miami, Beam seems to have inadvertently left his roots behind, seduced by a musical playground that perhaps his producer should also be blamed for providing.

'Almost pathetic' because of the great songs 'Resurrection Fern', 'Boy With A Coin' and 'Flightless Bird, American Mouth', where he achieves the type of unique sound we had perhaps come to expect, and which allow the grasp of his words to obtain full and proper attention.

My reasons for disliking this album are almost entirely selfish because of the value I found in the former simplicity of his music, as is my solution - make Sam Beam sad again. Remind him of existentialist angst, and the need to make-pretend beauty in everything.

If this doesn't happen, well, in that case I am left with relics. Which is a bit of a shame.
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on 5 September 2008
The best new artist in this sphere of music is Nick Worrall. Google him and get his debut album for FREE. Incredible.
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on 4 November 2007
Being a huge fan of "our endless numbered days", "the sea & the rhythm" and "the creek drank the cradle", I found the last two albums very disappointing. Some may see it is as progress which it may be...I don't. I say the TSD show in Dublin and it is a little better live than the cd but bring bang Sam the wounded, Sam the fatalist! Whoever introduced Sam to this latin influence should be dragged naked through a garden of rose bushes.
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