By Carlos Chavez
Artist: Iron & Wine
Album: Beast Epic
Release Date: August 25, 2017
Label: Sub Pop Records
Indie folk artist Samuel Beam, better known as his stage name Iron & Wine, has released his highly anticipated sixth studio album Beast Epic. Prior to listening to the record, I had no clue who this artist was, so when I saw the title of the album, I was expecting some garage metal sounding tunes, but was quickly taken back as soon as I clicked play on the opening track. Beam counts off in a light whisper and begins to compose melancholic melodies that glisten from his acoustic guitar. “Claim Your Ghost” introduces the pensive journey you take while listening to this album. By mixing Beam’s honest lyrics and smooth ballads, a poetically beautiful record is born.
He talks about the meaning behind the title of the album and the odyssey he experienced creating this work:
“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.”
You could label this record a quarter life crisis project or a re-coming of age venture, because Beast Epic will give you a sense of understanding and empathy for Beam. From the way he humbly expresses his perception on life and love to every guitar pick, his fragile notes and rich acoustic arrangements will make you feel nostalgically content. There is no question that this is a heart-stopping album that you’ll want to pop on the record player on a gloomy Sunday afternoon.
Some favorite tracks that I recommend listening to are “Bitter Truth”, “Call It Dreaming”, “The Truest Stars We Know” and “Our Light Miles”.
If you love heartfelt sounding bands like The Decemberists, The Head and the Heart and Fleet Foxes, then I recommend adding Iron & Wine into the list of your indie folk faves.