Iron & Wine – Light Verse

A warming return laden with subtlety...

Samuel Beam, better known as Iron & Wine has built a dedicated fanbase since the release of his debut album in 2002, with a winning blend of indie and folk. Iron & Wine returns with his first solo studio album since 2017 following 2019’s collaborative album with Calexico, ‘Years To Burn’. After a fairly sizable break, anticipation is high for his latest offering, promising more warm and soothing material for fans to indulge in.

‘You Never Know’ is a gorgeous way to kick off the LP, simple yet hypnotic. Turning 50 in a few months, Beam’s vocals have lost none of their beauty, almost reminiscent of Father John Misty in places. Strings add an extra layer to the vocals and guitar. ‘Anyone’s Game’ has more of a Southern rock tinge to it built around guitars. 

‘All In Good Time’ has additional vocals from acclaimed singer-songwriter Fiona Apple, the two are seemingly a perfect match for each other. It has a subtle beauty to it, putting the pair’s vocals front and centre with luscious harmonies. Strings gradually fade in giving it an ethereal feel. It is a truly majestic track that fans of both artists will likely fall in love with. 

‘Cutting It Close’ has a wry humour to it, more tongue in cheek than some of the other tracks on the record yet retaining the quality found elsewhere, built around its impressive guitar work and production. It encapsulates what works so well in Iron & Wine’s sound. 

‘Yellow Jacket’ is a stripped-back marvel, simplistic but excelling in its quiet beauty as we quietly follow Beam’s vocals with some soft guitars for the first minute before gradually interpolating strings and additional elements with a soaring finale. ‘Sweet Talk’ meanwhile is one of the more upbeat numbers, leaning more into indie-folk, sure to be a favourite with fans an at live shows. 

There is rarely a dull moment across the 42 minutes in a record that feels like a throwback to folk classics of yesteryear while startlingly contemporary, finding a sweet spot between the two. Pushing 50 Iron & Wine proves he still has much to say in a hypnotic record full of lush production, highlighting the warmth and timelessness of his vocals. If not one necessarily to win over new fans, this will delight longtime fans who have been along for the ride. 

8/10

Words: Christopher Connor

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