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Woman King - EP

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Album Review

Anyone still hoping that Sam Beam and Iron & Wine will ever go back to the lo-fi sound of their first album might as well give up on that pipe dream. On the 2005 EP Woman King, Iron & Wine's sound is more produced and varied than ever. The record's arrangements are overflowing with a wealth of percussion, vocal harmonies, banjos, violins, and pianos. Beam's vocals, while always a thing of beauty, sound more assured and powerful than ever. Iron & Wine sound like a real band here; if you heard them in a big-budget Hollywood film, you wouldn't even flinch. The widening and smoothing of the band's approach does Beam's songs great favors, too. While his songwriting is as emotionally direct and haunting as ever (no amount of studio sheen could change that), this EP never feels insular, as his previous albums sometimes did. It sounds widescreen and universal. Woman King is too short to be considered the high point of Iron & Wine's career — it certainly points in that direction, though.

Biography

Born: 26 July 1974 in Columbia, SC

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Singer/songwriter Samuel Beam, who rose to prominence with a blend of whispered vocals and softly homespun indie folk, chose the moniker Iron & Wine after coming across a dietary supplement named "Beef Iron & Wine" while working on a film. Raised in South Carolina, Beam received his bachelor's degree in art from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond and later his Master of Fine Arts degree from Florida State University Film School. Although Beam would later expand his sound to include...
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Woman King - EP, Iron & Wine
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