|Iron & Wine — Beast Epic (August 25, 2017)|
Iron & Wine — Beast Epic (August 25, 2017) ♠•♠ Beast epic. n. A long, usually allegorical verse narrative in which the characters are animals with human feelings and motives.
♠•♠ With its first album of new material in over four years, Iron & Wine is proud to announce the new album, Beast Epic. Of the album, Sam Beam states “I have been and always will be fascinated by the way time asserts itself on our bodies and our hearts. The ferris wheel keeps spinning and we’re constantly approaching, leaving or returning to something totally unexpected or startlingly familiar. The rite of passage is an image I’ve returned to often because I feel we’re all constantly in some stage of transition. Beast Epic is saturated with this idea but in a different way simply because each time I return to the theme, I’ve collected new experiences to draw from. Where the older songs painted a picture of youth moving wide-eyed into adulthood’s violent pleasures and disappointments, this collection speaks to the beauty and pain of growing up after you’ve already grown up. For me, that experience has been more generous in its gifts and darker in its tragedies.”
Location: Austin, Texas
Album release: August 25, 2017
Record Label: Sub Pop
01. Claim Your Ghost
02. Thomas County Law
03. Bitter Truth
04. Song in Stone
05. Summer Clouds
06. Call It Dreaming
07. About a Bruise
08. Last Night
09. Right for Sky
10. The Truest Stars We Know
11. Our Light Miles
• Deluxe/loser version available via LP ONLY featuring 5 exclusive tracks:
01. Hearts Walk Anywhere
02. Kicking the Old Rain
03. About a Bruise (demo)
04. Claim Your Ghost (demo)
05. Summer Clouds (demo)
♠•♠ Rob Burger (keys),
♠•♠ Joe Adamik (percussion, drums), and
♠•♠ Jim Becker (guitar, banjo, violin, mandolin), along with bassist
♠•♠ Sebastian Steinberg (Soul Coughing and Fiona Apple), and
♠•♠ Chicagoan Teddy Rankin Parker (cello)
AllMusic Review by Tim Sendra; Score: ****
•• On Iron & Wine’s 2017 album, Beast Epic, Sam Beam took a conscious step back. Not only is he recording for Sub Pop again, he’s stripped away most of the high production values, backing vocalists, horn sections, and orchestras that were all over his more recent work like spangles on an old denim jacket. This record was done with a small group, recorded relatively simply, and often recorded live as well. Beam and his cohorts take a less~is~more approach to coloring in his suitably autumnal melodies, and get a sound that compares favorably with the classic Our Endless Numbered Days LP. It’s a more seasoned, more confident and expansive version of that album for sure, as the years have given Beam a richer tapestry of life experiences to draw from. His musical ideas are also more mature, and though the arrangements are simpler, they are still full of little tricks and sticky hooks. Beam’s singing has only improved too. He never has to try too hard to convey the feelings behind the lyrics, and with each album he feels more and more wise.
•• Tracks like “Thomas County Law” and “The Truest Stars We Know” have a burnished, ages~old feel to them, like he’s telling a story from the 1800s that still rings true. Without a single misstep, the rest of the album swings from catchy country ballads (“Bitter Truth”) to evocative mini~epics that come off like Van Morrison gone to seed (“Song in Stone”), rambling indie folk tales that feel very shaggy (“About a Bruise”), and slow, sad love songs (“Summer Clouds”). On the whole, Beast Epic has a lilting grace and pleasing simplicity that was missing from the last few Iron & Wine albums, and it’s good to hear Beam working on a small scale again. To continue building the sound out into something bigger probably would have led to a collapse, or at the very least a hollow center. No worries of that here, as Beam keeps the operation small and fills the center with lots of wistful emotion and tender feelings. Despite the seeming return to an earlier approach, it’s not an exercise in nostalgia or a retracing of steps. Beam is too restless an artist for that, and the strength of the songwriting and the nimble performances keep it from feeling that way. It may not be a step forward, but it is a strong step in a very pleasing direction, especially for fans of a more unfiltered Iron & Wine.
♠•♠ The Deluxe 2xLP version will be on red & blue vinyl with alternate artwork, two bonus tracks from the Beast Epic recording sessions along with three home recorded demos, and will have an etching on side D. The digital download that comes with the deluxe 2xLP will also include the 5 bonus tracks found on the 2nd LP. The bonus tracks are 1. Hearts Walk Anywhere, 2. Kicking the Old Rain, 3. About a Bruise (demo), 4. Claim a Ghost (demo), 5. Summer Clouds (demo).
♠•♠ The black vinyl single LP, CD, cassette, and digital versions will all come with a digital download of the full album, but will not include the bonus tracks that come with the deluxe 2xLP package.
♠•♠ Customers will be given access to stream the full album up to four (4) weeks before release date from your SubPop.com account, with your pre~order of the album on any format.
♠•♠ All pre~orders will also receive any and all pre~release track downloads in advance of the album release as they are made public, which will be available from your SubPop.com account as they become available.
♠•♠ All physical pre~order items should ship out from our warehouse in Seattle, WA between 5~8 days before release date, so long as their are no delays in manufacturing that would delay this advance shipping timeline.
♠•♠ International orders may not arrive by release day as extra time must be taken into consideration for distance traveled and customs department clearance.
♠•♠ “I must confess that I’ve always shied away from album introductions citing the usual “dancing to architecture” cop out. Speaking to their own work is uncomfortable for many artists, but I’ve made a new album called Beast Epic which is important to me and I wanted to take a moment to talk about why. I’ve been releasing music for about fifteen years now and I feel very blessed to have put out five other full lengths, many EPs and singles, a few collaborations with people much more talented than myself, and made contributions to numerous movie scores and soundtracks. This is my sixth collection of new Iron & Wine material and I’m happy to say that it’s my fourth for Sub Pop Records.
♠•♠ “It’s a warm and serendipitous time to be reuniting with my Seattle friends because I feel there’s a certain kinship between this new collection of songs and my earliest material, which Sub Pop was kind enough to release.
♠•♠ “I have been and always will be fascinated by the way time asserts itself on our bodies and our hearts. The ferris wheel keeps spinning and we’re constantly approaching, leaving or returning to something totally unexpected or startlingly familiar. The rite of passage is an image I’ve returned to often because I feel we’re all constantly in some stage of transition. Beast Epic is saturated with this idea but in a different way simply because each time I return to the theme I’ve collected new experiences to draw from. Where the older songs painted a picture of youth moving wide~eyed into adulthood’s violent pleasures and disappointments, this collection speaks to the beauty and pain of growing up after you’ve already grown up. For me, that experience has been more generous in its gifts and darker in its tragedies.
♠•♠ “The sound of Beast Epic harks back to previous work, in a way, as well. By employing the old discipline of recording everything live and doing minimal overdubbing, I feel like it wears both its achievements and its imperfections on its sleeve. Over the years, I’ve enjoyed experimenting with different genres, sonics and songwriting styles and all that traveled distance is evident in the feel and the arrangements here, but the muscles seemed to have relaxed and been allowed to effortlessly do what they do best (read full artist statement over here).” — Sam Beam
♠•♠ Beast Epic was written and produced by Sam Beam. It was recorded and engineered by Tom Schick at the Loft in Chicago in July 2016 and January 2017, and mastered by Richard Dodd in Nashville, Tennessee. The musicians who played on the album include longtime Iron & Wine collaborators Rob Burger (keys), Joe Adamik (percussion, drums), and Jim Becker (guitar, banjo, violin, mandolin), along with bassist Sebastian Steinberg (Soul Coughing and Fiona Apple), and Chicagoan Teddy Rankin Parker (cello)
|Iron & Wine — Beast Epic (August 25, 2017)|