37 of 45 people found the following review helpful
Approximates Nick Drake musically..Lindsay Buckingham vocally
, October 13, 2005
This review is from: Our Endless Numbered Days (Audio CD)
Sam Beam is the singer/songwriter behind Iron and Wine. Musically, you'll definitely be reminded of the spare acoustic folk sounds of Nick Drake, though Beam is apt to dust them with country influences quite often in the form of banjos and slide guitar. Vocally, he reminds me of a more hushed Lindsay Buckingham, especially when he utilizes layers of his vocals. ("Radio War" in particular made me think of a RUMOURS outtake..) Tempos and moods here vary between slow and melancholy to mid-tempo and subdued.
"On Your Wings" sinks it with its refrain "God, give us love in the time that we have" as it basks in mortality ("All these men that You've made/How we wither in the shade.."). "Each Coming Night" is another rumination about life's fragility. ("Will you say when I'm gone away/'I loved your son for his sturdy arms'...") "Free Until they Cut me Down" strides close musically to Johnny Cash's take on Depeche Mode's "Personal Jesus" (at least during the intro section) but nicely diverges later into one of the more musically interesting bits. It's also one of the more cynical tunes here, seemingly placing Beam in the shoes of a rapist ("Papa, don't tell me what I could've done/She's the one who begged me/'Take me home'...") "Fever Dreams" has probably the most poetic take on love here ("I want your flowers/like babies want God's love/Or maybe sure as tomorrow will come") Don't ask me what "Teeth in the Grass" is about...don't ask me to stop hearing it in my head either. It just sticks there...
No particular tunes stick out as bad but there is a sameness of sound throughout the disc. Whether that strikes you as "boring" or "cohesive" is probably in the ear of the beholder. It's also a bit short on runtime (less than 45 minutes) if such things matter to you.
If you like clear-cut images in your lyrics, this ain't the CD for you. I suspect that in some cases Beam just thought the words "sounded good" and they don't have any meaning at all.
The cheerleaders for this album are candycoating quite a bit. I don't hear any "new Dylan" here. However, I do find myself liking it after repeated listenings and see it as a nice piece of art. Nick Drake fans are advised to check it out, as are fans of folky pop in general.
3 1/2 stars
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