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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.

Customer Reviews

Beautiful

All of Beam's previous work has been intimately beautiful, every listener will agree on that. Even I, called narrowminded by many of my friends, and a sole listener of rock & roll, came to love his music. His first two albums were great, a calm and insightful journey through music. It was some of the most original sound I'd heard in years. The rest of his growing catalog just as amazing, he finally reached a turning point in his career. Iron & Wine has taken a step forward in my opinion, Woman King being the fully realized power of Beam's sound. The title track and "Jezebel" are lyrical touching and musically astounding. My favorite song, however, is "Evening On The Ground", featuring Sam's riveting vocals and a stirring guitar. Iron & Wine continues to impress, and hopefully the next album solidify his maturing as an artist.

Beam Expands His Sonic Dictionary

Woman King finds Beam adding elements we've seen him add live previously, but now he's in the studio, and it's to stunning effect. The percussive clack of Woman King is an indicator of the brilliance and beauty to come. My Lady's House makes beautiful use of the piano, and Jezebel finds Beam at one of his most haunting moments. A fantastic step to follow the LP Our Endless Numbered Days. If this tickles your fancy, In the Reins with Calexico is your next destination, and you won't be disappointed.

Makes the heart tremble

After listening to this album over and over for three straight hours it is hard to explain how it makes me feel. The tracks produce a coaster of sound and emotion. believe me the six tracks are well worth it. It never once left me wanting more, just wanting to hear it again. Sam Beam is truly one amazing song writer.

Biography

Born: July 26, 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...
Full Bio