Iron and Wine

By Garth Paulson

Sometimes it really doesn’t matter if you’ve heard something before. There are those who seek to remind the public of something more pure beyond the present. These few walk a thin line, either cast aside as a nostalgic novelty act or viewed as an important creative force.

Based upon his latest album, Our Endless Numbered Days, Samuel Beam of Iron and Wine can be counted amongst the latter.

Locating itself firmly in the sixties folk tradition, Our Endless Numbered Days features songs of simplistic instrumentation used to augment and accentuate the vocals and lyrics, resulting in one of the most gorgeous albums of 2004. A simple reminder of not needing fancy studio gimmickry or complex arrangements to be phenominal, Our Endless Numbered Days shows us all you need, for the most part, is a guitar and a voice.

Of course, it doesn’t hurt Beam possesses one of the most distinctively beautiful voices in all of music. His hushed whisper lends the album feelings of incredible intimacy, playing specifically for you and no one else. When he harmonizes with his sister, such as on “Naked as We Came,” a song about finding comfort in dying in the presence of a loved one, the results are purely angelic.

No, it really doesn’t matter you haven’t heard this album before. When it’s done this well, it makes the experiment all the better.

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