Iron and Wine - The Shepherd's Dog

Not bad for a guy with a gnarly beard

Album Review by Hamza Khan | 08 Oct 2007
  • The Shepherd's Dog<br/>
Album title: The Shepherd's Dog
Artist: Iron and Wine
Label: Sub Pop
Many expect Sam Beam's third and latest album to be his first misstep. After all, how often can a film professor from Florida reinvent folk music? His most famous song is a cover of The Postal Service's Such Great Heights for pouting whiner vehicle Garden State and it's been three long years since his last full length (2004's Our Endless Numbered Days). So when the hushed whispers of family life progressed to electric guitars and biblical undercurrents of death and redemption, where was there left for poor Sam Beam to go? Naysayers expecting Iron and Wine to fail are completely understandable. They're also completely wrong. The Shepherd's dog is a terrific album, and no doubt one of 2007's best. Beam retains the best parts of his early work and fills them with new ideas, instrumental and thematic. There's a choir on Peace Beneath the City, you'll hear slapped bass, streaks of jazz and blues, the Spanish drums on Wolves. Beam wrote about forgotten people on the first album and their faith on the second. On Shepherd's Dog he sings about the hopes and dreams of immigrants. It's an otherworldly mix, but it's spectacular. [Hamza Khan]
Release Date: 24 Sep
Iron and Wine plays Queen's Hall, Edinburgh on 29 Oct