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Iron and Wine

The Shepherd's Dog | Sub Pop
By DAVID BRUSIE  |  October 30, 2007
3.0 3.0 Stars
Sam Beam, the singer-songwriter behind the name Iron & Wine, made a name for himself with the four-track masterpiece The Creek Drank the Cradle in 2002. But rather than staying lo-fi, he’s moved on to bigger productions. On his third Iron & Wine full-length, he goes for his biggest sound yet, but the production is mere window dressing for some of his best songwriting. Rendering dark, melodic tales full of detailed lyrics (“There ain’t a penthouse Christian that wants the pain or the scab/But they all want the scar,” from “Innocent Bones”), Beam still sings in the same hushed tones that dominated his home recordings. Only now, his whispery delivery is surrounded by full-band accompaniment. There are hints of his lo-fi beginnings on the opening “Pagan Angle and a Borrowed Car,” but before the first verse has ended, drums kick in along with bass and electric guitar. Indeed, The Shepherd’s Dog goes beyond the basics of guitar/bass/drums, with clicks, claps, and snaps peppering the backdrop along with the sounds of picks hitting guitar strings and feet touching floors.
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