Magazine article U.S. Catholic

Beast Epic

Magazine article U.S. Catholic

Beast Epic

Article excerpt

BEAST EPIC Iron & Wine (Sub Pop, 2017)

Beast Epic is a return to form for Iron & Wine. It's the sixth album for singer-songwriter Sam Beam (Iron & Wine is his stage name), who in recent years has mostly strayed from the hushed spare acoustic sound that he became known for in the early-to-mid aughts.

Records like 2007's The Shepherd Dog and 2011's Kiss Each Other Clean found Beam experimenting with a lush, full band sound. Fans of his early folkier work will appreciate Beast Epic's warm acoustic tones and restrained vocal performances, which lay the groundwork for perhaps Beam's best album in a decade. Early on in his career, Beam showed a knack for impressionistic lyrics that drew on Southern gothic imagery and his Bible Belt upbringing. That gift is once again on display on "Thomas County Law," in which Beam paints a claustrophobic picture of a vaguely Southern locale: "Every dreamer falls asleep in their dancing shoes/I may say I don't belong here, but I know I do. …

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