Iron & Wine
Woman King EP
(Sub Pop)
An album that holds lineage over influences, Iron & Wine’s Woman King EP is a dark and brilliant offering. While Sam Beam has backed his sound with a more commanding instrumentation than in the past, his songs are still as focused and pristine as ever. The result fuses the tones of Harry Smith’s American Folk Anthology with a subdued, modern approach. Few contemporary artists have managed to tap into this undercurrent of American music so successfully, merging a traditional storytelling style with instrumental work that illustrates rather than directs. The album’s ultimate achievement is pulling all this off while still sounding wholly authentic. It’s through this feat that Beam shows the depth of his talent, proving that his past two albums only hinted at his full potential.
—Matt Charlton

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