Iron & Wine Beast Epic

Album Review by Rustyn Clark

 

It may be a pretty cool name for an album, but Beast Epic really doesn't deliver a beast and none of it's epic. This is a bittersweet album that has a message to relate, but it feels like it lacks the punch the lyrics want to give. What Sam Beam's latest album does offer is a light and relaxed soundtrack to lazily doze away the afternoon in your backyard hammock while sipping a virgin strawberry daiquiri. It's not a bad album, in fact, it's quite good for what it delivers. The trouble is that it delivers on only one note: Melodic Melancholy Musings.

 

The blandness of the music is a shame considering the righteous guitar licks and dramatic tunes we all know Mr. Beam to be capable of from some of his earlier albums like, Ghost on Ghost (2013) and Kiss Each Other Clean (2011). What's more is that the lyrics of his songs, though beautifully sung and composed, just don't seem to fit with the music. His songs tackle topics ranging from the nostalgia of love and wonder to the heartbreak of relationship drama, from the depression of learning about mortality to the acceptance of fatalistic existentialism.  

 

Some of the music works incredibly well with the care-free dreamy sound of the album; "Call It Dreaming" is flawless - arguably a must-hear song of 2017. The lyrics, "We can burn and be forgiven / Where our hands hurt from healing / We can laugh without a reason" are perfectly complimented by the gentle guitar strumming and easy percussion - not to mention Sam's vocals which are exquisitely well-suited for a song about existentialism.

 

But songs like "About a Bruise" sound pleasant and even fun at parts ("Bang: Bang!"), but should probably have a bit of a darker sound. The music sounds too joyful to be about such a dark subject matter, make the lyrics seem almost ironic. The music and lyric combination can be confusing to understand if you aren’t paying close enough attention.

 

Having said all that, it should be remarked upon that this is truly a wonderful album – IF – you listen closely to the lyrics. Sam proves that some of the best songs are simply poetry set to music. This is best demonstrated by the very opening song of the album, which is sad and reflective – but perfect in music and lyric. Not only is the first song, “Claim Your Ghost” the most interesting to listen to, it’s the only track on the album that you can tell when the next starts.

 

If you are a huge fan of Iron & Wine, you can’t miss this album – actually, you’ll love it. It’s a glimpse into the soul of Sam Beam and an unabashed soliloquy of pensive themes and fallibility. But if you like Iron & Wine for their more famous songs and covers, you may not be impressed by this album’s monochrome 11 tracks.

 

Iron & Wine’s newest album, Beast Epic, is out on August 25, 2017 under the Sub Pop label out of Seattle. Give it a listen when you need to relax, just don’t let the subliminal messaging sink in too deeply.

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Iron & Wine Beast Epic

Album Review by Rustyn Clark

It may be a pretty cool name for an album, but Beast Epic really doesn't deliver a beast and none of it's epic. This is a bittersweet album that has a message to relate, but it feels like it lacks the punch the lyrics want to give. What Sam Beam's latest album does offer is a light and relaxed soundtrack to lazily doze away the afternoon in your backyard hammock while sipping a virgin strawberry daiquiri. It's not a bad album, in fact, it's quite good for what it delivers. The trouble is that it delivers on only one note: Melodic Melancholy Musings.

 

The blandness of the music is a shame considering the righteous guitar licks and dramatic tunes we all know Mr. Beam to be capable of from some of his earlier albums like, Ghost on Ghost (2013) and Kiss Each Other Clean (2011). What's more is that the lyrics of his songs, though beautifully sung and composed, just don't seem to fit with the music. His songs tackle topics ranging from the nostalgia of love and wonder to the heartbreak of relationship drama, from the depression of learning about mortality to the acceptance of fatalistic existentialism.  

 

Some of the music works incredibly well with the care-free dreamy sound of the album; "Call It Dreaming" is flawless - arguably a must-hear song of 2017. The lyrics, "We can burn and be forgiven / Where our hands hurt from healing / We can laugh without a reason" are perfectly complimented by the gentle guitar strumming and easy percussion - not to mention Sam's vocals which are exquisitely well-suited for a song about existentialism.

 

But songs like "About a Bruise" sound pleasant and even fun at parts ("Bang: Bang!"), but should probably have a bit of a darker sound. The music sounds too joyful to be about such a dark subject matter, make the lyrics seem almost ironic. The music and lyric combination can be confusing to understand if you aren’t paying close enough attention.

 

Having said all that, it should be remarked upon that this is truly a wonderful album – IF – you listen closely to the lyrics. Sam proves that some of the best songs are simply poetry set to music. This is best demonstrated by the very opening song of the album, which is sad and reflective – but perfect in music and lyric. Not only is the first song, “Claim Your Ghost” the most interesting to listen to, it’s the only track on the album that you can tell when the next starts.

 

If you are a huge fan of Iron & Wine, you can’t miss this album – actually, you’ll love it. It’s a glimpse into the soul of Sam Beam and an unabashed soliloquy of pensive themes and fallibility. But if you like Iron & Wine for their more famous songs and covers, you may not be impressed by this album’s monochrome 11 tracks.

 

Iron & Wine’s newest album, Beast Epic, is out on August 25, 2017 under the Sub Pop label out of Seattle. Give it a listen when you need to relax, just don’t let the subliminal messaging sink in too deeply.

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