Sam Beam draws deep from the well of
As Iron & Wine, Sam Beam has made a
career of smuggling dark thoughts of mortality and self-reckoning in
music that sounds as comforting as a warm Snuggie™. Collecting
nearly two-dozen assorted rarities, Around the Well serves as a
secret career retrospective that highlights that defining contrast.
On the first disc, Beam draws heavily from folk and country to give
songs like “Dearest Forsaken” their devastating intimacy, but as
the album proceeds, he gradually expands his increasingly ambitious
and idiosyncratic view of Americana on “Carried Home” and “The
Trapeze Swinger,” which burble with clattering percussion,
countermelodic keyboards, and unexpected flourishes. That sense of
musical evolution makes Around the Well a particularly compelling
listening, and Beam’s sensitive readings of songs by Stereolab, the
Flaming Lips, the Postal Service, and New Order show how sturdy his
sound can be, as he translates them to quieter settings without
losing their heraldic sentiments.
Listen to Iron & Wine on MySpace.