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Iron And Wine
Woman King


4.5
superb

Review

by Glitterati USER (1 Reviews)
June 21st, 2006 | 9 replies


Release Date: 2005 | Tracklist


Iron & Wine is the stage name for Florida native Sam Beam, who looks like he could have been a 19th century American President with that beard. In the late '90s, he began released tapes around Miami, which attracted the attention of Jonathan Poneman (yes, pwnman) of Sub Pop records. In 2002, he released his debut The Creek Drank The Cradle, a kaleidoscope of folksy acoustic guitars, twanging banjos, and even banjos.

On February 22, 2005, the Woman King EP was released, which I discovered due to MX. I didn't see that anyone else had done a review, so I thought I'd jump in and do one before I left for vacation.

1. Woman King - The drawling title track begins. Clacking percussion sets in with a hypnotic drone, before the acoustic guitar sets in. "Blackbird claw, raven wing, under the red sunlight." The lyrics seem to be about a woman being in the place of royalty. These lyrics seem to set the standard for the rest of the song. Good opener, and ends with a little "ting", if that makes sense. 4/5

2. Jezebel - this song slowly fades in with what sounds like a triangle, then guitar again. Sam half sings, half whispers about a woman named Jezebel. From the lyrics, I'm not sure I can quite make out the theme of the song, but it still makes for an interesting concept, has a gorgeous, flowing sound, and is one of my favorites on this album. 5/5

3. Gray Stables - A sort of horn into leads into slow, almost-military like drumming with a....tambourine, I suppose? in the background. This seems to be another song about a girl whose theme might be stalking, with lyrics like "Brave lady could see me in the darkness". A really cool violin part comes in at around the 2:10 mark. Good song 4/5

4. Freedom Hangs Like Heaven - This track begins with lazy acoustic guitar lines which lead into Sam's whisper-like vocals. The themes of this song seem to deal with, well, freedom, as well as references to Jesus and Mary. Really catchy, something I want to learn to play. My favorite song on the album, 5/5

5. My Lady's House - Another acoustic guitar intro. Sam seems to mostly use acoustic guitars on this album, giving it a genuine '60s folk feel throwing back to Buffalo Springfield. My one complaint about this song is it seems a little too slow....almost boring at times, really. Good lyrics (once again, about a girl), nice work on the piano, but not one of my favorites 3/5

6. Evening on the ground (Lilith's Song) - The intro to this reminds me of The Stranger Song by Leonard Cohen, with the guitar starting out slow and speeding up, almost to a hellacious pace to match the violin (which sounds beautiful) and drums. This song is about the sin of Lilith, which is a legend from the bible you should read up on.

Pros:
There's a lot of folk revival going on right now, but Iron & Wine sound completely genuine, creating a sound that is as nostalgic as it is fresh.

Cons: None, really. I'm gonna sound like an utter fanboy, but this band is awesome, and I don't really see anything wrong with them.

I give this an album 4.5/5. Definitely check this out if you're into folk rock. If you like this, be sure to check out In The Reins, their collaboration with Calexico.


user ratings (217)
4
excellent


Comments:Add a Comment 
The Jungler
June 21st 2006


4826 Comments


Good job for a first review, or any review for that matter. Usually I don't read tbts but yours was quite enjoyable. Iron and Wine is cool.

Sam Beam, who looks like he could have been a 19th century American President with that beard
This made me laugh

Jacaranda
June 22nd 2006


684 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Good review I read it cause it was yours! This album is not boring at any time though.



Sam is a Uni. Professor in Florida and this is his little side project. I learned that when I saw him play at Sasquatch!

This is the only Iron and Wine I have and I really need to get some more my favorite song would be "Jezebel" or "Grey Stables."

Zebra
Moderator
June 22nd 2006


2647 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I seem to be the only person who doesn't care for this as much as Sam's other releases. I prefer the more simple stuff that Beam does, just Beam + the banjo and/or acoustic really does it for me. Although the music is by no means crowded with sound it's just hard to adjust to all of the different instruments he is now using.

FA
June 22nd 2006


127 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Zebra, I half agree, except when artists branch out in subtle ways like he did it's interesting to hear. I absolutely love his previous work but this EP is fantastic and I love the fact that he's experimenting with more instruments and whatnot. Obviously, I hope he doesn't get to overwhelmed, but the instruments and the "new" sound is something to look forward too. It's not like it's just blatant disregard for what he's done in the past.

Zebra
Moderator
June 23rd 2006


2647 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

You're absolutely correct. I enjoy it when bands/artists experiment with their sound but I personally enjoyed Beam because I just got this image in my mind of Beam sitting out in the rain strumming away at his acoustic. Yeah it's strange and all and I enjoy this ep but I just can't seem to enjoy it as much.

FA
June 23rd 2006


127 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

That's understandable. I knew before, while writing my own review of this EP, that the major problem that I&W listeners would have with it, would be the fact he's branching out musically. Personally, I do like it, but I think the original sound of him is better. It seems way more personal and in touch with the listener. Either way, Beam rules.

Muisee
June 23rd 2006


679 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Wasn't he on the OC? Hard to be respected after that.



Of what I have heard, it's ok, nothing special.This Message Edited On 06.23.06

FA
June 23rd 2006


127 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

I really don't see the big deal if an artist goes on the tele, yea it sucks, but I won't ever stop listening to him. I don't think he was anyway...

Waior
January 15th 2009


11780 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"...folksy acoustic guitars, twanging banjos, and even banjos. "



Redundant folk instruments.



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