Iron & Wine – Our Endless Numbered Days (Deluxe Edition)

The Deluxe Edition of Our Endless Numbered Days highlights the power of production in the formation of an artist's sound

Album Review by Katie Cutforth | 02 Apr 2019
  • Iron & Wine – Our Endless Numbered Days (Deluxe Edition)
Album title: Our Endless Numbered Days
Artist: Iron & Wine
Label: Sub Pop
Release date: 22 Mar

Sam Beam is a master of self-reinvention. His six celebrated records under the alias Iron & Wine play with a range of styles, instrumentation, lyrical themes and production techniques, all the while maintaining a sense of wholesomeness and introspective honesty.

Iron & Wine’s latest release suggests an ongoing feeling of nostalgia for the musical landscape Beam has created. 15 years after its original release, the seminal Our Endless Numbered Days is reissued in deluxe form, offering eight demos that have lain dormant all these years. These precious reimaginings are largely stripped down to whispered vocals over strummed guitar. Wistful and regretful, they echo the understated devastation of Sufjan Stevens, allowing for an intimate observation of Beam’s resonant poetry.

2004 saw Beam’s transition from his cosy, unpolished country aesthetic to a cleaner, tighter sound. A new kind of power took hold, a fullness, with the welcoming of backing vocals and tentative drums. The anxious Cinder and Smoke offers dark melancholy reminiscent of an Elliott Smith ballad, Beam gently positioning himself in the fast-developing indie-folk scene. Passing Afternoon flows like prose, telling a tale much bigger than Beam himself.

Our Endless Numbered Days’ reissue highlights the power of production in the formation of an artist’s oeuvre, whilst harnessing the record to its roots and encouraging respect for the album in its entirety as exactly what it was intended to be: pure, timeless, sighing songwriting.

Listen to: Cinder and Smoke, Passing Afternoon, Free Until They Cut Me Down