Thursday, December 20, 2007
LOW-FI SUBTLE ACOUSTIC BEAUTY FROM FLORIDA
ARTIST``````````````IRON & WINE
ALBUM``````````````OUR ENDLESS NUMBERED DAYS
COMPILATION BY VALENTIN
I first heard Iron & Wine on their excellent collaboration album with Calexico called "In The Reins" which i also recommend.
I intentionaly selected this album (not the debut one) because talented songwriter Samuel Beam (the guy with the beard) managed to keep his gorgeous, intimate living room sound while shifting from his home studio production to proffesional studio equipment. While some question this change in sound quality, I only see it as a normal reaction to a massive positive response to his music. Some new band members are added and this can be heard in small enriching details such as sampled Native Indian chants and simple percussion beats in the backround. The most important improvement on this album is Samuel's voice - it is recorded so well that sometimes it seems that he is singing right next to you.
Simple and emotional, this album has that tiny, intimate precision that lots of indie lo-fi bands today search for.
SHORT BIOGRAPHY AND ALBUM INFO:
Iron & Wine is the stage name for one Samuel Beam, a Florida native who made his name by releasing lo-fi tapes in Miami. The name Iron & Wine is taken from a dietary supplement named "Beef Iron & Wine" that he found in a general store while shooting a film.
On Our Endless Numbered Days, the follow-up to 2002's stunningly good Creek Drank the Cradle, the sound of Iron & Wine has changed but the song remains the same. No longer does Sam Beam record his intimate songs in the intimate surroundings of his home. Instead he has made the jump to the recording studio. As a result the record is much cleaner, less cocoon-like, certainly more the product of someone who has become a professional musician and not someone who just records for fun on a four-track. However, all Beam has sacrificed is sound quality. The sound of the record is still very intimate and simple, with very subtle arrangements that leave his voice and lyrics as the focal point. Luckily all the technology in the world can't affect Beam's voice, which still sounds like it comes right from his lips into your ear as if he were an angel perched on your shoulder. His songs are still as strong and memorable as they were on Creek, no drop off whatsoever in quality.
Our Endless Numbered Days is very subdued, thoughtful, melodic, and downright beautiful album and the new sound is more of a progression than a sudden shift in values, production or otherwise. Anyone who found the first album to be wonderful will no doubt feel the same about this one. Heck, you might even like it more.
DOWNLOAD IRON & WINE HERE