Iron and Wine: The Shepherd's Dog 

The Shepherd's Dog has been out on shelves for a few months but still stands strong against any releases that have come out since. The refreshingly creative album doesn't reveal all its thrilling qualities with the first listen, but rather unveils more of its beauty over time. Sam Beam, the mastermind of Iron and Wine, has embraced a new eclectic and progressive sound to back his music on the record. Blossoming with colorful instrumentation, extensive jams and enchanting lyrics, The Shepherd's Dog is a musical cornucopia unified by Beam's voice.

Fans of Beam's intimate folk style from albums The Creek Drank the Cradle and Our Endless Numbered Days shouldn't be worried of losing the peaceful sparkle that marks Iron and Wine's music. Even with the wide spectrum of instruments and energy conversing on the record, Beam still easily captures his signature tranquil sound. The monophonic writing from previous records has been ornamented by thicker, more polyphonic textures supporting Beam's ever-present voice. The album is not openly funky; however, the music displays a shadow of a refined funk character underneath the surface. This serves as a pedal point for the many vibrant jams on The Shepherd's Dog. Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of the album is the diversity of musical settings through which Beam's writing can transport listeners. From his love songs, to glances at iridescent soundscapes and all the way to a blues track, the album covers outstanding musical terrain.

The Shepherd's Dog is Iron and Wine's premium album to date and arguably one of the more notable records of 2007. Undoubtedly, the record shows Sam Beam's musical maturation beyond his promising but primitive earlier music, to a finer and more innovative style. Iron and Wine is definitely a name to keep an eye on, whether for another sold-out show in Boise or for new material in the months and years to come.

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