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Woman King
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  • In his first few years of doing business as Iron & Wine, Floridian singer/songwriter Sam Beam seemed incapable of putting a foot wrong. His hushed, gorgeous ballads had already filled two albums and an EP before 2005's six-song WOMAN KING came along. While Beam's Nick Drake-meets-Elliott Smith whisper and striking poetic imagery remain intact on WOMAN KING, he also indulges in the expanded instrumentation and folk-blues formats hinted at on the preceding OUR ENDLESS NUMBERED DAYS. Junkyard percussion, keyboards, and guitars all vie for space with Beam's low-key croon but never overpower it. In keeping with the title, the theme of the EP seems to be various perspectives on female characters, whether on the fanciful title track or the warm, beatific glow of "My Lady's House." With the perfect blend of economy and adventurousness, Beam's lyrical stance makes each track memorable and marks him as one of the finest songsmiths of his era.
Professional Reviews
Rolling Stone (No. 969, p.110) - 3.5 stars out of 5 - "[T]he best yet [from Iron & Wine]....[Samuel Beam] expands his minimal, mostly acoustic arrangements with unusual percussion, slide guitar, keyboards, violin, distorted electric guitar and multitracked harmonies..."

Spin (p.86) - "Though tender and beautiful, his austere, mournful sketches of lonesome prairie life offer sepia-tinted portraits of heroic Christian suffering." - Grade: A-

Uncut (p.106) - 4 stars out of 5 - "Embellishing the elegance of the last album with softly propulsive percussion and electric guitar, WOMAN KING heaves in on the canter of velvet hooves....Twenty-five minutes of luminously beautiful music."

Mojo (Publisher) (p.97) - 4 stars out of 5 - "The usual Iron & Wine ingredients - banjo, slide guitar, translucent voice delicate as a windblown autumn leaf - are augmented by electric guitar, violin, piano and percussion."
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