Review : Iron and Wine - Around the Well
SlantmagazineSamuel Beam, best known by his stage moniker Iron & Wine, is perhaps the most prolific of today's so-called neo-folk artists, producing over a dozen full-length albums, EPs, and other assorted works since his 2002 debut The Creek Drank the Cradle. It's no wonder, then, that a collection of Beam's unreleased pieces would materialize as a hefty double album bursting at the seams with his trademark brand of thoughtful but rustic poetry. Yet no matter how wonderfully Around the Well showcases the skillful humility of Beam's narratives, it is continually marred by the curse of many double albums before it: Akin to a dinner guest who has run out of interesting things to say long before the main course has arrived, Around the Well is ungainly, unable to carry its weight beyond its initial charm.
That's not say the album is a waste of time: Beam is forever quiet and yet unceasingly strained, demonstrating a kind of stressful intimacy that conjures up the raw sounds of Beck's 1994 indie release Stereopathetic Soulmanure. Much like that near-ancient bootleg, Around the Well offers a lo-fi, almost achingly primitive slice of unsuspecting artistry. The resultant music evokes feelings of blatant voyeurism, as if the listener were spying on an unwary musician in the asylum of his bedroom studio. Vocals are painfully whispered and acoustics plucked simply, both carrying an unpretentious charm that escapes most modern folk artists....full text
PrettymuchamazingSamuel Beam, AKA Iron and Wine, has come a long way since waiting tables back home in Columbia, South Carolina. With a storied background in the arts, music and film, it was only a matter of time before his laid-back folk sound reached more than just his close friends and family.
It’s been almost 8 years since he recorded his cover of Postal Service’s “Such Great Heights,” and in that span of time, he has failed to disappoint. Three studio albums, EPs and several singles later, Around the Well finally puts those melodic rarities and B-sides in one place, putting the perfect antidote for those rainy spring days, only an arms length away....full text
NmeAround The Well' is a collection of Sam Beam's rare tracks, ranging from out of print to previously unreleased material. The collection will be released on June 1.
The songs on 'Around The Well' date back to Iron & Wine's earliest recordings (some of which yielded the band's 2002 debut 'The Creek Drank The Cradle'), through to material recorded for 2007's 'The Shepherd’s Dog'.
The collection is divided into two discs, with the first half an assortment of unedited home recordings, while the second half features studio recorded songs....full text
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