Coffee + folk music just go together in a special way.
It’s basically a fact.
Iron & Wine is the epitome of modern folk. Therefore, Iron & Wine goes together well with coffee.
Before I say much more about this album and whatnot, I should probably mention that I’ve been just kind of a fan of Iron & Wine. Not really a big fan, but I think some songs are great and I’ve really enjoyed a couple albums.
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But this album is amazing, an absolute gem.
So let me tell you why, and more info about the album.
If you’d like to listen as you read, Sub-Pop put up a free stream of the album on YouTube, so here you go!…
Sam Made A Comeback
The album I had previously listened to most by Iron & Wine – aka Sam Beam, the frontman and singer/songwriter – was Our Endless Numbered Days, the second album.
It’s a great album, but it’s really bare bones and mellow. Nothing wrong with that, as long as you’re in the mood for it.
It’s mostly acoustic guitar with other instrumentation, but sparse.
Progressing onto the next album, The Shepherd’s Dog, you have yet more instrumentation with the songs more upbeat and sounding more pop or folk-rock esque…
Yet again onto the next album, Kiss Each Other Clean, you have distorted sounding guitars and effects on the vocals. More than just reverb. A chorus or tremolo-sounding effect. The songs sound like Sam is trying to see how anthemic he can make his folk songs sound…
Sorry let’s just be honest, it didn’t work. There’s not a single song on Kiss Each Other Clean I can get into.
But maybe that’s just me?…
Anyway, moving on another two or three albums after, it seems that Iron & Wine is still trying to find a new good sound but floundering.
The year 2017!
Beast Epic is released.
Sam Hits Gold Here
It seems that after some years and at least a few albums of sound soul-searching, Sam fell right into his perfect niche of electric and acoustic folk mixture.
Every song on Beast Epic is beautiful, fun, playful, whimsical, gentle, thoughtful, or some combination thereof.
It’s a perfect mix of effects and electric instruments from his later works and the organic, rootsy feel of Our Endless Numbered Days or The Creek Drank The Cradle.
He does a superb job of not doing too much and not doing too little on Beast Epic.
From a musician’s standpoint, his chord progressions and the overall feel is very creative and innovative.
Iron & Wine has never had a problem with clever, creative and witty lyrics though. I’ll certainly give Sam that.
But holistically, this album is Iron & Wine’s strongest album, in my opinion.
For some reason, I like having favorites.
Favorite coffee maker, favorite jazz pianist, favorite movie, favorite book, favorite country I’ve visited.
Maybe that’s not so unusual though?
It’s hard to choose favorites on this album though. Every song has its own unique flavor, but they’re all high-caliber songs.
But I think my favorite song may be “Thomas County Law”. I don’t know how to even describe why, it’s just the feels I get from it! Awesome instrumentation, a good groove, and just an overall peaceful and free feeling it gives.
Give Us Some More Good Ones
Iron & Wine had one album after Beast Epic, called Years To Burn, with the band Calexico.
Unfortunately, the songwriting goes back to lackluster and plain. The album doesn’t strike a chord in me like Beast Epic does.
So please Sam Beam, Iron & Wine, give us some more good, creative, compelling albums.
If you were to sum up what I’ve basically stated in this article, I’ve only liked three out of eight albums by Iron & Wine. Maybe you enjoy more albums than I do.
I admit that I can be picky and arbitrary sometimes.
But I do hope that Iron & Wine will put out some more gems like Beast Epic. I didn’t hear the album until just a few weeks ago and I was pleasantly surprised.
I hope you enjoyed reading this review of an amazing album!
Drink some delicious coffee, turn on this album, and zone out for a bit. It’ll surely turn the quality of your day up a notch or two.
Iron & Wine & coffee go together very nicely, especially if it’s Beast Epic you’re listening to.
What are your thoughts? Do you disagree with my thoughts about this album or some other Iron & Wine albums? I’d love to hear your thoughts! But either way, I hope you love this album. Have a great day!
“Every dreamer falls asleep in their dancing shoes…”