[5 November 2007]
Iron & Wine, the name Samuel Beam goes by, is not heavy metal, as might be suggested by the “Iron” part, nor is it as party-friendly as is implied by the “Wine”. Instead, Beam makes quiet, late night, contemplative music. These three songs contrast only slightly from each other. The title track takes stripped down percussion and a quiet vocal, then accents these minimal elements with just a hint of Southern rock guitar. “Kingdom of the Animals” embellishes the formula with acoustic piano, while “Carried Home” is not much more than acoustic guitar and a vocal. Appreciating Iron & Wine is a little like conversing with somebody who whispers all the time; you must be ready to concentrate and listen intently, or else you’ll miss everything. But while Beam is a teller of sad stories, he’s by no means a whiner. So if you let him cry on your shoulder for a spell, I’m sure he’ll appreciate the friendly gesture.