Thursday, October 11, 2007

Iron & Wine - The Shepherd's Dog

I know there have been over a thousand reviews written on this album, each of them pretty much saying the same thing. I’ll try not to rehash everything you’ve already read, but I can’t promise anything.
Iron & Wine has been a fascinating band to track through their career. It has not been a long career, but they have come a long way in such a short time. Iron & Wine has shown more musical growth in five years than Nickelback would be able to show in a million years. Over the course of their albums, they have steadily added more instruments and have spent more time with production.
That growth certainly shows on The Shepherd’s Dog, their latest album. No longer are Sam Beam’s vocals sung in barely a whisper over a quiet guitar. This evolution was hinted at on the Woman King EP, and further explored on In the Reins (this release could easily be written off as a collaboration, and, therefore, not a real Iron & Wine album).
If you were asked to pick out a trademark characteristic of a previous Iron & Wine album, most people would point out the whispered vocals and soft, gorgeous guitar lines. They wouldn’t be wrong. But those are not the first things that spring to mind when thinking about this album. If I could sum this album up in one word, it would be this: percussion. There is an amazing amount of varied percussion on this album, all of it adding to the songs and overall feel of the album. Songs like “Lovesong of the Buzzard”, “Wolves (Song of the Shepherd’s Dog)”, and “Boy With a Coin” (to name three) are extremely heavy with percussion. It never detracts from the songs, though, which is quite amazing, seeing as how there is so much going on.
He can still have his tender moments, too. Songs like “Resurrection Fern” and “Flightless Bird, American Mouth” sound like they could have been recorded for Our Endless Numbered Days.
More than anything, this album shows off Iron & Wine’s range. No longer are they a band to put on the background. This album demands your full attention…and, after a listen or two, you’ll be happy to give it.

Rating: 9.3

Favorite Tracks: “Innocent Bones”, “Wolves (Song of the Shepherd’s Dog)”, “Boy With a Coin”, “Flightless Bird, American Mouth”

Check our their website here, or buy it here

1 comment:

Rosalyn said...

Interesting to know.