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Iron & Wine - Around the Well (2009) Retail CD
"Around the Well" is a substantial compilation of B-sides, unreleased tracks and rarities that span the entire career of Iron and Wine thus far. It is a most welcome offering for us listeners to feast upon whilst waiting for the next album proper. In fact, it's one of the best compilations I've heard in some time (up there with Elliot Smith's "New Moon", dare I say it).
Over the course of 2 CD's, we hear clearly the evolution of the Iron and Wine sound. Disc one focuses on the early, lo-fi home recordings that were built around just acoustic guitar, slide guitar and Sam Beam's breezy whispermore… of a voice. Disc two presents the more polished and embellished but no less beautiful material of later years.
Highlights on disc one include "Morning", with its honeyed harmonies and intricate guitar picking. "Peng!33" is a Stereolab tune that Sam Beam interprets to stunning effect, making it his own. "Hickory" is another light, airy melody that evokes Texan landscapes. "Such Great Heights", that closes the disc, is so melodically powerful and intimate that it causes me to well up with tears!
On disc two, the differences are immediately apparent, with the presence of percussion, bass and piano and even a vaguely warped synthesiser (on "Arms of a Thief").
Highlights on this disc include "Belated Promise Ring", an upbeat, jaunty, buoyant piece that features a rather fetching piano solo. "God Made the Automobile",meanwhile, is astonishing, with a killer melody and charming "ooo-whoo" backing vocals. Elsewhere, we have "Serpent Charmer", a bongo-driven barnstormer. "Love Vigilantes" is a worthy rendition of a New Order classic. "The Trapeze Swinger", the album's closing tune, lasts for an epic ten minutes and not a moment is wasted. It contains one of Sam Beam's finest vocal melodies, a catchy guitar riff and more of the addictive "oo-whoo" backing vocals that added so much to "God Made the Automobile". It's a truly glorious number to bow out on.
So, all in all, "Around the Well" is a superb compilation. Granted, there are are a few tunes that come across as slight on the first listen, but these even these lesser numbers start to cast their spell after a few spins. This album is a must-have for established fans and any lovers of intimate acoustic music or Americana in general.
Speaking for myself, I could listen to these simple, stunningly crafted melodies for eternity. I hope you feel the same way!
|3||Loud As Hope|
|6||Friends They Are Jewels|
|8||Waitin' For A Superman|
|9||Swans And The Swimming|
|10||Call Your Boys|
|11||Such Great Heights|
|1||Communion Cups And Someone's Coat|
|2||Belated Promise Ring|
|3||God Made The Automobile|
|4||Homeward These Shores|
|10||Kingdom Of The Animals|
|11||Arms Of A Thief|
- Iron & Wine - Around the Well (2009) Retail CD
- CD 2
- 1419 x 1425 px
- 467 KB
- 127 (0 today)
- 06/12/09 by DoctorMusic
- Quality Rating:
Rated 5 of 5 (1 votes). Click CDs to vote!