Iron & Wine
Beast Epic SUB POP. CD/DL/LP
Pensive singer-songwriter returns for first pure solo LP since 2013’s Ghost On Ghost. Sam Beam doesn’t make many sudden movements on his sixth album as Iron & Wine: Beast Epic is, at times, gentle to the point of drowsiness. His more experimental skins are mainly shed for steady folk pondering, the collaborative spirit that led to his work with Jesca Hoop (2016’s Love Letter For Fire) and Band Of Horses’ Ben Bridwell (2015’s Sing Into My Mouth) suspended for his own quiet charisma. Instead, the record unfolds its songs of faith, hope and sudden clarity slowly, little glints and catches commanding attention – the distant Nick Drake rays reflected on The Truest Stars We Know, the tender-to-the-touch lyrics on About A Bruise. Less cloudy than his earlier records, Beast Epic feels more rooted in its sun-warmed ground. It might not look like it’s going to leap out and grab you, but Beam here launches a soft emotional ambush.