Iron & Wine

Iron & Wine
With last year’s Our Endless Numbered Days, Iron & Wine (aka Sam Beam) proved that it was still possible to make a great album with nothing but beautiful songs, played in the simplest way possible. It turned out to be a revelation to many, so it makes sense that Beam should keep everyone happy with this six-song EP of new songs in tribute to the fairer sex. While that number may not be enough to satisfy those still savouring the magic of Days, it is equally as important just for the fact that it shows Beam beginning to embrace a fuller sound. Although it’s not quite "Iron & Wine go electric,” the presence of a fuzz guitar on the opening title track is enough to reassess the situation. Beam, along with his sister Sarah, continue to sing in ghostly tones, but the additional instrumentation leads the general atmosphere to recall more than ever vintage psych-folk of the Fairport variety. It suits the strong female protagonists of each song perfectly; echoing those of traditional folklore, or, as in "Grey Stables” and "My Lady’s House,” evoking sweeping images straight out of novels by the Bronte sisters. For all these lofty comparisons, the surprising lack of feyness in Beam’s performances is what makes his music most enjoyable. This is folk music for people who hate folk, and hopefully he keeps it that way.