Iron and Wine’s Sam Beam is an absolute genius. I said so in my review of his stunning Sub Pop debut and I have no problems whatsoever repeating myself here. He’s simply a brilliant writer and performer, fusing his staggeringly poetic lyrics to a bed of rolling acoustic guitar, banjo rhythms, and a hushed vocal delivery that is a Nick Drake fan’s wet dream. He has only two releases in his young career, but Beam has already made a believer of me for life.
Perhaps it’s best to simply let Beam speak for himself. “And how he prays to find a man to blame,” Beam whispers on the opening track, “For every sleepless night he spends/And for every well that he warned me of/But wound up falling in/And then for the kids beneath the balcony/Who disregard the rain/To make sure the king won’t grant/The dead man one more day/Let’s go out and see darling/What shines tonight/And temper your dream about the dying horse/With traffic, noise and light/And somewhere the soft-handed boys/Bleeding hearts, and worker bees/Give to the holy mother begging change/Christ across her knees.”
The Sea and the Rhythm is a 5-track EP and is apparently a somewhat expanded version of a tour-only disc Beam carted around on his recent tour, hoping to tide ravenous fans over until the release of his sophomore full-length early in 2004. These 5 cuts were lifted from the same home recorded sessions as The Creek Drank the Cradle’s songs, and they’re of such uniformly high quality that it’s maddening to think there’s still a good album’s worth of these recordings gathering dust somewhere in Florida.
Written by Chris Brown.