Saturday, January 15, 2011

Song of the hour (updated)

Walking Far From Home: Iron & Wine
Most people either love Iron & Wine or are fundamentally indifferent to them. The music never real seems to rile anyone into vehement hatred but Sam Beam often inspires a profound love. I have to admit I was a bit suspicious of Iron & Wine's increasing jam band vibe especially after seeing them a couple of years ago where they indulged in drawn out psychedelic jams a million miles away from the rustic folk of their origins.

That being said, there is a particular type of Iron & Wine song that I like where the band play the same riff over and over and the song's dynamics depend mainly on the vocals and backing instrumentation (behold the nine minute, four chord Trapeze Swinger or the gentle revelry of Passing Afternoon). I generally refer to this music as acoustic trance. Walking Far From Home is similar in structure but with more electronic impulses. The song deftly balances the spacier tendencies that I was concerned about with the traditional tropes of Iron & Wine's music.

Lyrically, it's all very whimsical as usual but there is some beautiful phrasing and some great lines like "I saw a bird fall like a hammer from the sky". Worth checking out if you like that kind of thing and if you don't, you'll probably think it's boring. Your loss really.

Update: While I love this song, I finally got around to listening to the new Iron and Wine album and it. is. bad. The closest way to describing it as if Sam Beam decided to front a Phil Collins tribute band. The music has all the pastel shades of 80's pop but not in a good way. It's not million miles away from yacht rock. Way too much saxophone.


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