An Album with Epic Conventions
Written by: Alanna Nickles
After a four year silence, Sam Beam, also known as Iron & Wine, gifts us with another warm euphony of harmonies and soul piercing narratives that seemingly mirror our very own experiences. However, knowing Beam’s artistic genius, he has taken his mesmerizing formula and spun it on its head. In “Beast Epic”, we do not hear the feelings and thoughts of a younger Beam, searching for past lovers or finding himself reflecting on his role in the world. Rather, he expresses his thoughts and feelings of an established man, singing about soul mates, his marriage and growing up after reaching the age of maturity.
His first track, Claim Your Ghost, welcomes you home after a long journey. It calls you back under the the quilts of a well-worn yet inviting bed of tantalizing harmonies and hypnotic chord progressions hand stitched by Beam himself. He sings of an old relationship; strong and still passionate, but familiar. It leaves the listener with a newer perspective of Beam as though he has “let go” of his old narratives.
The delicate, pizzicato sound of his eighth track, Last Night, complements the fragile nature of the parting of two long-term lovers. The upbeat, yet dissonant, track gives the listener reason to believe that his maturity has led him to discover that some things simply end. He confesses that this state is confusing, but he also finds stable ground and happiness in this state of change, something that his younger self would fail to realize.
He ends the album with Our Light Miles. The listener can feel the hesitation in Beam’s voice as he softly reels from the coming change and growth in his established life.
“What will become of us? / all water knows leaving, hearts bleed they’re changing"
This lyric perfectly ties together his carefully wrapped package of thoughts on the perpetual cycle of change that everyone experiences, young and old.
Beam finds a way to gently wrap up every person that stumbles upon his music into his poignant narratives. He describes adult life as a constant state of transition. That no matter how established we are, we will always end up back at change’s door while we wait for him to tell us where to go next. Beam seems to eloquently describe the cyclical nature of adulthood while intertwining it with his low and familiar harmonies, leaving us questioning our own lives and yearning for more.