Iron & Wine
The Creek Drank the Cradle


5.0
classic

Review

by FA USER (7 Reviews)
May 29th, 2006 | 28 replies | 13,519 views


Release Date: 2002 | Tracklist


9 of 10 thought this review was well written

Iron & Wine consists of singer/songwriter Sam Beam: a beautifully hushed voice slightly contrasting with a grizzly beard (think Doug Martsch form Built to Spill) over an acoustic guitar and the occasional twanging of a banjo. Beam hails from Miami and when he's not recording or on tour, he's teaching Cinematography at a local college. Beam may come off as the typical, run-of-the-mill Elliott Smith or Nick Drake knock-off, but there's something just a little bit different in his music. His laid back sense of singing and his childlike awareness of animals and where certain emotions belong, bring more to the table than you would imagine. One may find that Beam's music falls just shy of simply humming lullabies over the delicate plucking of an acoustic guitar or banjo and maybe that's what he wants and that's what he's striving for, but his hushed vocals reel you in and keep you hooked until the album is over, leaving you stunned with beauty.

The album opens with the gentle plucking of a guitar to Lion's Mane where Beam's quiet vocals grab your attention, singing of love and where to find it:

and love is a tired symphony
you hum when you're awake
and love is a crying baby
mama warned you not to shake
and love's the best sensation
hiding in the lion's mane


Beam has a knack for camouflaging sensations and emotions within the physical features of animals. In Bird Stealing Bread he's reminiscing of a love he had previously, singing there's a bird stealing bread, that I brought out from under my nose, and then later coming back to that with do his hands in your hair, feel a lot like a thing, you believe in, or a bit like a bird stealing bread out from under your nose? The sorrowful lyrics of Promising Light, (probably my favorite song on the album), could almost bring a man to tears. The depressing music is accompanied by his constant hushed vocals and the eventual strumming of his banjo, detailing a departed love and his attempts to not look at attractive girls, hoping to stay true to her even though she's gone.

Time and all you took
Only my freedom to f*ck the whole world
Promising not to look
Promising light on the sidewalk girls


By the time The Rooster Moans, (no pun intended), reaches your ears, you've probably come to the conclusion that Iron & Wine's music is a mix of southern country bluegrass and Nick Drake-esque vocals. His southern roots, although from Miami, Florida and not the deep backwoods of Alabama or Arkansas, really stand out through his music, whether it is the twang from his banjo, or the plucking of his guitar.

The album kind of comes down when it reaches Weary Memory, where Beam talks of a memory of a wife, and how he carries only one picture as a memory of her, yet certain things he notices remind him of her.

Throughout The Creek Drank the Cradle Beam double-tracked his voice over a few of the songs, causing beautifully tracked harmonies. This album was in fact, recorded in his apartment on a lo-fi four-track, which may annoy some ears, but I find it to be quite a nice revelation to the music he's produced. The album ends on Muddy Hymnal, an almost dark and lucid story tale of one who has lost a love. Beam doesn't really hold back on the short story telling in this album, but what's folk without a few interesting folklores? The Creek Drank the Cradle is a meditative album perfect for studying, napping or simply to relax too. It's not a road-trippin, partying, beach-goin album, so don't expect up-tempo riffs and loud vocals, but if you do decide to take it to the beach or somewhere unexpected, I'm sure you'll find that it truly is a quiet treasure.

Pros
Relaxing
Filled with wonderful lyrics
Beautiful quiet vocals

Cons
Not the most exciting album (if you're looking for something exhilarating)
Might sound boring to some.



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user ratings (342)
Chart.
3.9
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Honeymoon_Croon
May 29th 2006



297 Comments


How do I know that this review is telling me the truth?

Anyways, lame jokes aside, this was a very well-written review. I only listen to folk every now and then, but it seems like this may be a great pick-up. I'll check some stuff out.

Sepstrup
May 29th 2006



1563 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I considered reviewing this, but you did a really good job. I wouldn't have rated it quite that high, but it's still a fantastic album.

The Jungler
May 29th 2006



4827 Comments


Good job on the reveiw, I had no idea he was from Miami, thanks for telling me that. I've heard of Iron & Wine's more "popular" songs and I've come to the conclusion that I like him.

His beard is awesome too.

temporary
May 29th 2006



207 Comments


Great review, I've only got the album he did with Calexico, but its really quality.

Zebra
Moderator
May 29th 2006



2647 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Bird Stealing Bread is such a beautiful piece of music, this is the ideal "rainy day" album. Excellent work on the review, I was going to get to this eventually if no one else was willing to do it.

niobium
May 30th 2006



238 Comments


Lions Mane is really nice. (from the artist profile) I'll have to get this album soon. Great review, you do the song/album justice.

Med57
Moderator
May 30th 2006



1001 Comments


Good review, although Iron & Wine are a band that I haven't really been able to like. I remember hearing them for the first time in one of the Alt/Indie listening parties, and they were just really bland, which surprised me as I like a lot of artists within the genre. :-/

incubotic
May 30th 2006



78 Comments


They arent a band, just one guy I think /

I am probably gonna get this album soon, I really like this kind of stuff. Check out 'Trapeze Swinger' on In Good Company Soundtrack- its one of his best songs

Is this his best or should I start elsewhere?

mx
Moderator
May 30th 2006



733 Comments


This isn't his best. Try 'Our Endless Numbered Days'

FA
May 30th 2006



127 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Ouch, I just got owned on the well-written votes. mx has a valid point though, "Our Endless Numbered Days" is a fantastic album as well.

Zebra
Moderator
May 30th 2006



2647 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I felt that Our Endless Numbered Days was a big snoozefest. Don't get me wrong this album isn't anything upbeat or exciting but Our Endless Numbered Days just didn't grab me like this album did.

Bron-Yr-Aur
June 9th 2006



4405 Comments


Nice job Justin. You get a vote.

Zmev
June 12th 2006



983 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5


This isn't his best. Try 'Our Endless Numbered Days'


He lies, this is his best,

Two-Headed Boy
March 15th 2007



4527 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This is very good but it's hard to get in the mood for it. Same with "Our Endless Numbered Days".

DeafMetal
March 13th 2010



8584 Comments


best way to get that lo-fi minimalist recording effect?

Digging: Satan's Satyrs - Wild Beyond Belief

tombits
March 13th 2010



3463 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Use lo-fi, minimalist recording equipment? aha.

DeafMetal
March 13th 2010



8584 Comments


too vague tombits

Kris.
July 1st 2011



11374 Comments


upward over the mountain is so good

DeafMetal
July 6th 2011



8584 Comments


perfect

Steoandnoodles
January 6th 2012



2832 Comments


This is such a beautiful album. =)
I love it!



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