Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Iron & Wine - The Shepherd's Dog

Iron & Wine – The Shepherd’s Dog
Sub Pop, 2007
Acquired: Half Price Books, Used, 2013
Price: $3

This is right about where I stopped listening to Iron and Wine. I spent my senior year of high school clutching tightly to Our Endless Numbered Days and The Sea and the Rhythm EP and I got distracted. That’s what I think happened. I went to college and someone found this great program that let everyone in Hashinger Hall to share our music and that was that. It’s nice to hear Sam Beam branching out from the hushed acoustic sad-folk that made him famous. The arrangements here are fun and thoughtful and though The Shepherd’s Dog is a fundamentally good album, I can’t help but feel indifferent to it. There’s a sound he made his own in the early 2000s and that’s what I want. I don’t want to sound like I’m pissed that he changed, quite the opposite. I’m really glad he didn’t get bogged down. I’m glad he didn’t keep making the same record over and over again. It’s just that now the only record of his we ever listen to is The Creek Drank the Cradle. That’s partially because until now that was the only Iron & Wine album we had on vinyl, but even with this one we’ll still just listen to Creek. It’s satisfying on a level that The Shepherd’s Dog just can’t reach because it’s not tied to nostalgia and it’s just not as pure and lovely. There are flashes of loveliness here, especially on “Resurrection Fern” and “Flightless Bird, American Mouth” (even Twilight can’t ruin that one). Having heard Iron & Wine’s latest—the tragically not very good at all Ghost on GhostThe Shepherd’s Dog sounds like the best thing ever. While it’s impossible to cling to the past in real life and exist as a functional person, thankfully the rules don’t apply to records.

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