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Iron & Wine - Sunset soon forgotten,
This review is from: Our Endless Numbered Days (Audio CD)
There is something about the release of new album that often sends you back to older ones and rekindles a spark. Sam Beam's latest Iron and Wine production "Ghost on ghost" is a charming, diverse and relatively slick musical feast but whether the songs match his previous top of the mountain standards is debatable. In any case there are a number of different Sam Beams. One is a musician who likes to relentlessly experiment and another is a acoustic balladeer who writes songs so tender that his CDs should come with a complimentary box of tissues and a hand to hold. This reviewer admires the former but prefers the latter and it is in "Our Endless Numbered Days" that this side of Beam finds its full expression.
Beam has also been a bit of a "DIY" singer and his first couple of recordings lacked any professional studio sheen. This was conquered on this 2004 album where the recording quality is pristine and all the right parts come together and fit perfectly. Highlights included the simply sumptuous "Fever Dream" which harks back to halcyon days of Simon and Garfunkel, the gentle rolling acoustics of ""Sunset soon forgotten" as we come" and the divine "Naked as we come" where he sings of "One of us will die inside these arms/ Eyes wide open, naked as we came/ One of us will spread our ashes around the yard" . There is a darker edge here not least Beam's attempt to come to terms with religion and his own self doubt. In some of the songs we also see the emergence of latter preoccupations around death not least he narrator of "Free Until They Cut Me Down" who looks forward to his final moments leading up to and including his hanging. The overall impression nevertheless is one of a rarified intimacy which makes it almost a whisper of a record and the comment in the Pop Matters review of this album hits the button when it states that "It's a man in a cornfield, on his back and imagining". You should follow this as advice since listen to "Love and some verses" and you will swear that you can hear the clouds move.