Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Iron & Wine - Beast Epic, album review

Call it Hummin'

I confess I can’t write much about this album other than to compliment it for its consistent pleasantness. These are essentially folk songs – ‘indie folk’ as some, or one perhaps, review/s describe it, and I don’t know how that defines it any more precisely. It is current folk, yes, but that has such an established lineage I don’t know if it warrants such a qualifying in the way ‘rock’ folk would be a clear distinction.

I wander. Some track are a little oblique, like Last Night which is lightly and playfully plucking its way through difference, but overall, as with third Bitter Truth and fourth Song in Stone [tiny echo of Nick Drake in songcraft rather than vocal] and fifth Summer Clouds that genuinely soothes, these are pleasant and peaceful ruminations on aspects of living* [what else] and dressed prettily in harmony.

I have been more intrigued by the reviews. The balance, of those I have read, is probably more critical than supportive, The Guardian not raving but warmly liking; the Evening Standard having a nice line in dismissal: Overall, it’s like discovering there’s another micro-brewed IPA in the world.

There won’t always be an apocalypse with a new release, and familiarity can, if it tries, breed a less exaggerated response.

*here’s an example from Call it Dreaming, and no, I don’t really know what it means, but I do think it reveals the problem of forcing a rhyme:

where we see enough to follow
we can hear when we are hollow
where we keep the light we’re given
we can lose and call it livin’

yet you’ll be humming it anyway.

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